The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the clinical placement experiences of undergraduate Physiotherapists , many of whom started working as preceptee Physiotherapists shortly after qualifying in 2021. Consequently, it was important to provide training in the key skills required to work within an acute inpatient setting to preceptee Physiotherapists starting at an acute NHS Trust in 2021.
A one-day simulation course was developed to expose preceptees to common scenarios occurring in clinical practice to increase their confidence in managing these situations.
Six simulation courses were delivered with 22 preceptees each attending a single course. The course started with a group tactical decision exercise to develop caseload management skills. Participants took part in a simulated multidisciplinary team (MDT) ward handover and were provided the opportunity to gather more information from MDT colleagues, simulated medical notes, and admission systems to help them prioritise their simulated caseload. Participants then used this information to make decisions regarding the prioritisation of their simulated workload. The influence of information on participants’ decision-making was then discussed. Participants subsequently undertook five high-fidelity scenarios in pairs; examining themes of discharge planning, managing an unwitnessed fall, the acutely unwell patient, conflict resolution, and acute confusion management. Each scenario was followed by a faculty-led debriefing to facilitate learning through discussion and reflection.
Participants completed a self-rating questionnaire based on the 5-point perceived self-efficacy scale before and after course attendance. It evaluated confidence and competence in aspects of inpatient care. Overall self-rated confidence and competence improved post-course in all question categories.
Significant differences (R>0.5) were seen for self-rated confidence in managing a ward handover (1.2), prioritising daily workload (0.6), communicating with the multidisciplinary team (0.6), communicating with patients and relatives (0.6), and responding to unpredictable workload and environments (1.2).
Significant differences were also seen for self-rated competence in managing a ward handover (0.9), prioritising a daily workload (0.5), and responding to unpredictable workload and environments (0.8).
Free text analysis of participants’ course key learning points identified themes surrounding confidence in own abilities, escalation, and communication.
Simulation-based training was effective in enhancing confidence for preceptee Physiotherapists in managing aspects of acute inpatient care. Further work is required to establish its utility in addressing competence. The development of preceptee simulation training for multi-professional groups is also required. For 2022, a joint Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy preceptee induction simulation course is planned.
1. Gough S, Orr R, Stirling A, Raikos A, Schram B, Hing W. Health Sciences and Medicine Education in Lockdown: Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Global Pandemic. In Nestel D, Reedy G, McKenna L, Gough S. Clinical education for the health professions: theory and practice. Springer; 2021.