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Chris Attoe, Mary Lavelle, Susan Sherwali, Katharine Rimes and Zaina Jabur
Mental health simulation is the educational practice of recreating clinical situations in safe environments using actors, followed by structured debriefing, to foster…
Mental health simulation is the educational practice of recreating clinical situations in safe environments using actors, followed by structured debriefing, to foster professional development and improve care. Although evidence outlines the benefits of simulation, few studies have examined the impact of interprofessional mental health simulation on healthcare trainees, which is more reflective of clinical care. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact of mental health simulation training on students’ confidence, attitudes, knowledge and perceived professional development and anticipated clinical practice.
Participants (n=56) were medical (41 per cent) and mental health nursing students (41 per cent), and clinical psychology trainees (18 per cent). Six simulated scenarios, involving one to three trainees, were followed by structured debriefs with trained facilitators. Scenarios, using actors, reflected patient journeys through emergency, medical and psychiatric settings. Participants’ confidence, knowledge and attitudes were measured quantitatively using pre- and post-course self-report questionnaires. Perceptions of impact on professional development and clinical practice were assessed using thematic analysis of post-course questionnaire responses.
Knowledge, confidence and attitudes scores showed statistically significant increases, with large effect sizes. Thematic analyses highlighted themes of: interprofessionalism, communication skills, reflective practice, personal resilience, clinical skills and confidence.
Further research should clarify the impact of interprofessional simulation training on mental health practice in the context of other training received.
Simulation training may begin to influence participants’ professional development and future clinical practice and subsequently care delivered, supporting its increased use in mental health.
This study adds to nascent understandings of the use and potential of interprofessional mental health simulation, outlining innovative training, its positive outcomes and implications.