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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Simulation in Medical Student Education: Survey of the Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine

  • Author(s): Heitz, Corey
  • Ten Eyck, Raymond
  • Smith, Michael
  • Fitch, Michael
  • et al.
Abstract

Introduction: The objective of this study is to identify (1) the current role of simulation in medical student emergency medicine (EM) education; (2) the challenges to initiating and sustaining simulationbased programs; and (3) educational advances to meet these challenges.

Methods: We solicited members of the Clerkship Directors in Emergency Medicine (CDEM) e-mail list to complete a Web-based survey addressing the use of simulation in both EM clerkships and preclinical EM curricula. Survey elements addressed the nature of the undergraduate EM clerkship and utilization of simulation, types of technology, and barriers to increased use in each setting.

Results: CDEM members representing 60 EM programs on the list (80%) responded. Sixty-seven percent of EM clerkships are in the fourth year of medical school only and 45% are required. Fewer than 25% of clerkship core curriculum hours incorporate simulation. The simulation modalities used most frequently were high-fidelity models (79%), task trainers (55%), and low-fidelity models (30%). Respondents identified limited faculty time (88.7%) and clerkship hours (47.2%) as the main barriers to implementing simulation training in EM clerkships. Financial resources, faculty time, and the volume of students were the main barriers to additional simulation in preclinical years.

Conclusion: A focused, stepwise application of simulation to medical student EM curricula can help optimize the ratio of student benefit to faculty time. Limited time in the curriculum can be addressed by replacing existing material with simulation-based modules for those subjects better suited to simulation. Faculty can use hybrid approaches in the preclinical years to combine simulation with classroom settings for either small or large groups to more actively engage learners while minimizing identified barriers.

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