Benefits of providing an acute simulated learning environment to speech pathology students: An exploratory study
Introduction: Technology-enhanced simulation is being increasingly identified as a viable option for developing clinical experience and competency across all allied health disciplines. The need for simulation is being driven by increasing student numbers, reduced client hospital stays and reduced clinical educator availability. However, simulation is rarely used in existing speech pathology programmes in Australia. This study aimed to explore the impact of simulation on speech pathology students’ knowledge, experience, confidence and behaviour change when conducting a repeated initial consultation in a simulated acute-care environment.
Methods: Twelve speech pathology students enrolled in the third year of a 4-year undergraduate programme took part in this embedded mixed-methods study. The study comprised two half-day simulated learning workshops, with workshops consisting of participation in one of three clinical scenarios in a simulated acute hospital setting. Students’ perceptions of their knowledge, experience and confidence were measured prior to and following the simulated experience, in addition to their actual performance being rated. Outcome measures used in this study included the Participant Perception Indicator (PPI), an observer checklist, the Satisfaction with Simulation Experience Scale (SSES) and qualitative feedback.
Results: Statistically significant increases in students’ self-reported levels of knowledge, experience and confidence related to acute-care speech pathology practice were captured using the PPI. Positive behaviour change was recorded through repeated practice of the simulation scenario, and all students reported that the simulated learning experience was highly valued.
Conclusion: Findings from this pilot study provide important insights into the benefits of simulated learning for speech pathology students, especially within the context of an acute-care setting.
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