Benefits of providing an acute simulated learning environment to speech pathology students: An exploratory study


  • Tanya A Rose The University of Queensland
  • Anna Copley The University of Queensland
  • Nerina A Scarinci The University of Queensland



acute care, simulated learning, speech pathology, technology-enhanced simulation, allied health


 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.


Alinier, G. (2007). A typology of educationally focused medical simulation tools. Medical Teacher, 29, e243–e250.

Becker, K., Rose, L., Berg, J., Park, H., & Shatzer, J. (2006). The teaching effectiveness of standardized patients. Journal of Nursing Education, 45, 103–111.

Berger, C., & Carlson, E. (1988). Measuring computer literacy of teacher trainers. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 4(9), 289–303.

Blackstock, F. C., Watson, K. M., Morris, N. R., Jones, A., Wright, A., McMeeken, J. M., . . . Jull, G. A. (2013). Simulation can contribute a part of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy clinical education. Simulation and Physiotherapy Clinical Education, 8(1), 32–42.

Briffa, C., & Porter, J. (2013). A systematic review of the collaborative clinical education model to inform speech–language pathology practice. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 15(6), 564–574.

Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gaba, D. M. (2007). The future vision of simulation in healthcare. Simulation Healthcare, 2(2), 126–135.

Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24, 105–112.

Health Workforce Australia (HWA). (2014). Australia’s health workforce series: Speech pathologists in focus. Canberra, Australia: Author.

Herge, E., Lorch, A., DeAngelis, T., Vause-Earland, V., Mollo, K., & Zapletal, A. (2013). The standardized patient encounter: A dynamic educational approach to enhance students’ clinical healthcare skills. Journal of Allied Health, 42(4), 229–235.

Hill, A. E., Davidson, B. J., & Theodoros, D. G. (2010). A review of standardized patients in clinical education: Implications for speech–language pathology programs. International Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 12(3), 259–270.

Hill, A. E., Davidson, B. J., & Theodoros, D. G. (2012). Reflections on clinical learning in novice speech–language therapy students. International Journal of Speech and Language Disorders, 47(4), 413–426.

Hill, A., Ward, E., Penman, A., Caird, E., Baldac, S., Cardell, E., . . . Walters, J. (2016, August). Simulation as a model for developing competency in management of communication and swallowing disorders in adults. Oral presentation at the conference of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, Dublin, Ireland.

Issenberg, B., McGaghie, W., Petrusa, E., Lee Gordon, D., & Scalese, R. (2005). Features and uses of high-fidelity medical simulations that lead to effective learning: A BEME systematic review. Medical Teacher, 27(1), 10–28.

Issenberg, B., & Scalese, R. (2007). Best evidence on high fidelity simulation: What clinical teachers need to know. The Clinical Teacher, 4(2), 73–77.

Johnson, A., & Jacobson, B. (2007). Medical speech–language pathology: A practitioner’s guide (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Theime.

Kyrkjebø, J. M., Brattebø, G., & Smith-Strøm, H. (2009). Improving patient safety by using interprofessional simulation training in health professional education. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 20(5), 507–516.

Levett-Jones, T., McCoy, M., Lapkin, S., Noble, D., Hoffman, K., Dempsey, J., . . . Roche, J. (2011). The development and psychometric testing of the satisfaction with simulation experience scale. Nurse Education Today, 31(7), 705–710.

MacBean, N., Theodoros, D., Davidson, B., & Hill, A. (2013). Simulated learning environments in speech–language pathology: An Australian response. International Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 15(3), 345–357.

McAllister, S., Lincoln, M., Ferguson, A., & McAllister, L. (2011). A systematic program of research regarding the assessment of speech–language pathology competencies. International Journal of Speech–Language Pathology, 13(6), 469–479.

McCooey-O’Halloran, R., Worrall, L., & Hickson, L. (2004). Evaluating the role of speech–language pathology with patients with communication disability in the acute hospital setting using the ICF. Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology, 12, 49–58.

Paskins, Z., & Peile, E. (2010). Final year medical students’ views on simulation-based teaching: A comparison with the best evidence medical education systematic review. Medical Teacher, 32(7), 569–577.

Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing and Health, 23, 334–340.

Williams, B., & Dousek, D. (2012). The satisfaction with simulation experience scale: A validation study. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2(3), 74–80.

Ziv, A., Erez, D., Munz, Y., Vardi, A., Barsuk, D., Levine, I., . . . Berkenstadt, H. (2006). The Israel Center for Medical Simulation: A paradigm for cultural change in medical education. Academic Medicine, 81, 1091–1097.


Additional Files