Simulation-based education has an established role in the training of healthcare professionals. Annually, a mandatory simulation course is run for foundation doctors at a London teaching hospital. Nurses and allied health professionals (AHPs) are also invited as ‘staff that work together should train together’ . The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fewer learning opportunities, and attendance from nurses and AHPs was subsequently reduced on the 2021–2022 programme. The aim was to bring attention to, create discussion, and offer solutions to address the ongoing barrier of the pandemic to effective interprofessional education (IPE).
Pre- and post-course questionnaire responses were collected via SurveyMonkey using the Human Factors Skills for Healthcare Instrument (HuFSHI)  and clinical-based questions. These were paired anonymously with mean improvements calculated for each. The post-course questionnaire contained free-text questions.
23 courses were scheduled but 7 were cancelled due to poor attendance. There was a lack of nurses and AHPs signing up (153 doctors, 22 nurses, and 8 AHPs). Overall, 100 learners attended, consisting of 91 doctors, 8 nurses, and 1 AHP. The low proportion of nurses and AHPs was commented on by medical participants in their feedback. Of the 16 courses, 9 were attended solely by doctors and 5 sessions had only 1 nurse/AHP. The course was well received with positive average change scores across the 12 HuFSHI questions and clinical-based questions.
Whilst results show the course had a positive influence, the lack of nurses and AHPs meant the known value of IPE was diminished. As training is linked to improved resilience and wellbeing , nursing and AHP staff missed out, creating disparity across professions. This is significant following the impact of the pandemic on training and wellbeing – which this piece suggests is ongoing. Formal data was not collected regarding the reasons for poor attendance, but cancellation of nurse’s study leave across the Trust for a short period, plus covering isolation and sickness were likely contributing factors. Unexplained non-attendance on the day proved the most challenging although contacting participants beforehand combatted this to some degree. There are plans to introduce a text reminder system for next year. Proactive and integrated planning with stakeholders has enabled the early release of dates for next year, with doctors allocated automatically to sessions to promote a balanced spread of professions represented. Alternatively, in-situ simulation provides another way to increase accessibility and attendance.
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