SASS: South African Simulation Survey – a review of simulation-based education
Background: Simulation-based education (SBE) has been shown to be an effective and reproducible learning tool. SBE is used widely internationally. The current state of SBE in South Africa is unknown. To the best of our knowledge this is the first survey that describes the use and attitudes towards SBE within South Africa.
Methods: An online survey tool was distributed by email to: i) the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) members; and ii) known simulation education providers in South Africa. The respondents were grouped into anaesthesia and non-anaesthesia participants. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Ethics approval was obtained: HREC REF 157/2017.
Results: The majority of the respondents provide SBE and integrate it into formal teaching programmes. There is a will amongst respondents to grow SBE in South Africa, with it being recognised as a valuable educational tool. The user groups mainly targeted by SBE, were undergraduate students, medical interns, registrars and nurses. Learning objectives targeted include practical skills, medical knowledge, critical thinking and integrated management. Amongst anaesthesia respondents: the tool most commonly used to assess the quality of learner performance during SBE, for summative assessment, was ‘expert opinion’ (33%); the most frequent methods of evaluating SBE quality were participant feedback (42%) and peer evaluation (22%); the impact of SBE was most frequently assessed by informal discussion (42%) and learner feedback (39%). In anaesthesia SBE largely takes place within dedicated simulation facilities on site (47%). Most respondents report access to a range of SBE equipment. The main reported barriers to SBE were: finance, lack of trained educators, lack of equipment and lack of protected time. A limited number of respondents report engaging in SBE research. There is a willingness in both anaesthesia and non-anaesthesia groups (96% and 89% respectively) to collaborate with other centres.
Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge this publication provides us with the first cross-sectional survey of SBE in anaesthesia and a selection of non-anaesthetic respondents within South Africa. The majority of respondents indicate that SBE is a valuable education tool. A number of barriers have been identified that limit the growth of SBE within South Africa. It is hoped that with a commitment to ongoing SBE research and evaluation, SBE can be grown in South Africa.
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