Home Volume: 3, Issue: Supplement 1
International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
A21The use of simulated learning in prequalifying physiotherapy education: a scoping review

https://doi.org/10.54531/HVPN9537, Volume: 3, Issue: Supplement 1, Pages: A16-A16
Article Type: Literature Review, Article History

Table of Contents


Background and aim:

Simulation-based learning is an increasingly popular pedagogical approach. In some areas of physiotherapy, it is better been documented, for example, cardiorespiratory physiotherapy [1]. However, its use in other physiotherapy-related settings is less clear. Therefore, the aim of this project was to review the literature on simulation-based learning in prequalifying physiotherapy education, in order to explore where studies have taken place, which physiotherapy settings it is used in and indication of its effectiveness in teaching.


This study was carried out based on the scoping review methodology outlined by Arksey and O’Malley [2]. The following databases were searched: AMED, BNI, CINAHL, Embase, Emcare, HMIC, Medline and PsychInfo, using specific search terms, to find studies involving the use of simulation in a prequalifying physiotherapy setting. Returned papers were screened using inclusion and exclusion criteria by two reviewers. The database search results were recorded and managed using Rayyan™ [3].


The database search retrieved 280 papers. Following the removal of duplicates, screening titles and abstracts and then screening full-text papers, 39 papers were included. The included studies were conducted in USA (n = 23), Australia (n = 10), Canada (n = 1), Finland (n = 1), Germany (1), Spain (1), Taiwan (1), UK (1). Simulation-based learning activities took place in a variety of physiotherapy settings. Most took place in an acute care or cardiorespiratory setting. There was a high level of variation in the reporting of the described simulation activity. This made it difficult to establish whether simulations were of high or low fidelity. Where reporting was well described, simulation activities tended to follow a framework of pre-brief, simulation and then debriefing. The majority of studies reported some measure of the effectiveness or feasibility of simulation-based learning.


This scoping review identified a growing body of evidence supporting simulation-based learning in prequalifying physiotherapy education. However, to date, its use in pedagogical research has tended to focus on the cardiorespiratory setting, and it has often been researched as a tool to explore or enhance interprofessional collaboration. Whilst both of these areas are of value to the profession, there is scope to explore the use of simulation-based learning in settings such as musculoskeletal teaching. Further work on its use and value in the teaching of discrete complex tasks, in addition to collaborative practice, such as team working, de-escalation and communication is also needed.

Ethics statement:

Authors confirm that all relevant ethical standards for research conduct and dissemination have been met. The submitting author confirms that relevant ethical approval was granted, if applicable.

Room and Stiger: A21The use of simulated learning in prequalifying physiotherapy education: a scoping review


1. Sandoval-Cuellar C, Alfonso-Mora ML, Castellanos-Garrido AL, et al. Simulation in physiotherapy students for clinical decisions during interaction with people with low back pain: randomised controlled trial. BMC Medical Education. 2021;21(1).

2. Arksey H, O’Malley L. Scoping studies: towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology: Theory and Practice. 2005;8(1):19–32.

3. Ouzzani M, Hammady H, Fedorowicz Z, Elmagarmid A. Rayyan – a web and mobile app for systematic reviews. Systematic Reviews. 2016;5(1):210.