Home Volume: 2, Issue: Supplement 1
International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Bridging the realism gap: using ‘low-fidelity’ simulation for high quality training

DOI:10.54531/ENYN6442, Volume: 2, Issue: Supplement 1, Pages: A12-A13
Article Type: Editorial, Article History

Table of Contents





    The Royal College of Anaesthetists recommends use of simulation-based-education (SBE) during the initial 12-week novice placement for new anaesthetic trainees [1]. For many UK anaesthetic departments, the complexity and cost of patient simulators [2] may reduce opportunities for SBE during novice training. However, avoiding the physical fidelity trap [3] and utilising both conceptual and psychological fidelity to good effect might mitigate this issue. As novice trainees are already familiar with the theatre environment from day-to-day clinical practice, the learning outcomes from SBE generally cover rarer emergencies which can still be covered during SBE outside of the theatre environment. We aimed to assess the feasibility of running weekly low physical fidelity SBE across the entire 12-week novice period instead of the smaller number of ad-hoc sessions delivered previously.


    Our new SBE programme consisted of 30-minute sessions held in the anaesthetic department conference room to minimise impact on stretched theatre capacity and educator availability. To further maximise efficiency, we created a portable simulation set-up using a basic resuscitation manikin on a patient trolley, a disused anaesthetic machine, and a tablet device with a simulated monitor application. This could all be set-up and stored away in under 5 minutes. Our focus on conceptual and psychological fidelity led to the creation of a new scenario bank which identified common issues encountered by new anaesthetic trainees, rather than emergencies rarely encountered by even an experienced anaesthetist. Scenarios needed to be highly plausible and solvable by the novice trainee. Learners were then asked to complete a feedback survey after each session.


    Feedback from this new simulation programme was very positive and comparable to previous feedback. Across all sessions (n=12) and trainees (n=5), the median Likert scores for perceived relevance, realism, and appropriate challenge were 6/7, 5/7, and 6/7 respectively. All trainees across all sessions indicated they found it useful, enjoyable, and would attend again. In particular, free text responses praised the ability to focus on a single simulated issue without the cognitive overload of the wider theatre environment experienced by new trainees, and the psychological safety benefits of simulation and debriefing in a more relaxed non-theatre setting.


    This appears to be a feasible and well accepted alternative to our traditional approach, with additional benefits for trainees and reduced impact on service delivery. We now intend to explore use of this approach to deliver increased SBE to the wider anaesthetic and multidisciplinary team.


    1. Royal College of Anaesthetists. Simulation Strategy 2018–2023. London: RCoA 2018

    2. Fletcher J, Wind A. Cost Considerations in Using Simulations for Medical Training. Military Medicine. 2013;178(10S):37–46.

    3. Helyer R, Dickens P. Progress in the utilization of high-fidelity simulation in basic science education. Advances in Physiology Education. 2016;40(2):143–144.