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Med Teach. 2011;33(1):1-3. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2010.519412.

Simulation in medical education.

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Manchester Medical School, University of Manchester, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, UK.


Studies in cognitive psychology inform us that the recall of information and its application are best when it is taught and rehearsed in environments similar to workplace. The healthcare professions are heavily task- and performance-based where non-technical skills, decision making and clinical reasoning are important alongside integrity, empathy and compassion. Most of these attributes are difficult to teach and assess in the traditional classrooms. Enhanced patient safety on one hand has to be the ultimate outcome of any medical curriculum while on the other hand, it itself can be potentially compromised in an apprenticeship-based model of medical education. A range of simulation techniques are very well placed to be used alongside clinical placements. These can be employed to enhance learning of healthcare professionals in safe environments, without compromising the patient safety, while maintaining a high degree of realism. This article builds an argument for the use of simulation techniques to enhance patient safety and points the readers to the AMEE Guide No. 50 on simulation, which is written as a practical manual on building a simulation programme in healthcare education.

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