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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The role of simulation in developing communication and gestural skills in medical students

Annamaria Bagnasco1*, Nicola Pagnucci1, Angela Tolotti1, Francesca Rosa1, Giancarlo Torre2 and Loredana Sasso1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, via Pastore 1, Genoa I-16132, Italy

2 Medical Education Center of Genoa, via Pastore 1, Genoa I-16132, Italy

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:106  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-106

Published: 23 May 2014

Abstract

Background

International studies have shown that laboratory training, particularly through the application of the principles of simulation learning, is an effective means of developing the communication and gestural skills of healthcare professionals. At the Advanced Simulation Center of the University of Genoa we have therefore established the first clinical skill laboratory with medical school students and an interprofessional team of trainers, as the first step towards developing simulation training of both medical and nursing students at our University.

The aim of this study was to assess student satisfaction with laboratory training in an Advanced Simulation Center.

Methods

All of the third-year students of the Medical School (nā€‰=ā€‰261) were invited to participate in the laboratory sessions at the Advanced Simulation Center. They were divided into groups and attended the Center for one week. The team of trainers included medical doctors and nurses involved in teaching at the University Medicine and Nursing programs. At the end of the week, the students were administered an anonymous questionnaire made up of two sections: the first one was on the content of individual laboratory sessions; the second on the training methods, materials used and the trainers. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure satisfaction.

Results

According to the students all of the topics covered by the laboratory sessions were irreplaceable. Questionnaire results showed a high level of satisfaction with the methods used, the instruments developed, and with the expertise and approachability of the educators. Almost all of the students wanted to participate in similar laboratory activities in the future.

Conclusions

The study highlighted the need to permanently integrate laboratory training sessions into the curriculum of medical students, who found them very useful and stimulating. The limit of this study was that only the teaching staff was interprofessional, and the students were only 3rd Year students of medicine.

In the future, we hope to include also nursing students because they will need to learn how to deal with aspects of their clinical practice that require an interprofessional approach.

Keywords:
Simulation; Education; Communication skills; Gestural skills; Medical students; Nursing students