Open Access Research article

Have “new” methods in medical education reached German-speaking Central Europe: a survey

Martin Fandler1, Marion Habersack2* and Hans P Dimai3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Nuremberg Hospital, Prof.-Ernst-Nathan-Str., 1, 90419 Nuremberg, Germany

2 Office of the Vice Rector for Teaching & Studies, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 2, 8036 Graz, Austria

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 2, 8036 Graz, Austria

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:172  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-172

Published: 16 August 2014



Simulation-based-training (SBT) in the education of health professionals is discussed as an effective alternative for knowledge and skills enhancement as well as for the establishment of a secure learning environment, for learners and patients. In the Anglo-American region, SBT and simulation and training centers (STC) are numbered as standard for medical training. In German-speaking Central Europe, priority is still given to the establishment of SBT and STC. The purpose of this study was (i) to survey the status quo relating to the existence and facilities of simulation and training centers at medical universities in German-speaking Central Europe and (ii) the evaluation of training methods, especially in the area of emergency medicine skills.


All public and private medical universities or medical faculties in Germany (36), Austria (4) and German-speaking Switzerland (3) were interviewed. In the survey, information regarding the existence and facilities of STCs and information with regards to the use of SBT in the area of emergency medicine was requested. The questions were partly posed in a closed-ended-, in an open-ended- and in a multiple choice format (with the possibility of selecting more than one answer).


Of a total of 43 contacted medical universities/medical faculties, 40 ultimately participated in the survey. As decisive for the establishment of a STC the potential to improve the clinical-practical training and the demand by students were listed. Obligatory training in a STC during the first and sixth academic year was confirmed only by 12 institutions, before the first invasive procedure on patients by 17 institutions. 13 institutions confirmed the use of the STC for the further training of physicians and care-staff. Training for the acute care and emergency medicine skills in the field of pediatrics, for the most part, occurs decentralized.


New methods in medical training have reached German-speaking Central Europe, but the simulation and training centers vary in size, equipment or regarding their integration into the obligatory curriculum as much as the number and variety of the offering to be trained voluntarily or on an obligatory basis.

Medical education; Emergency medicine; Simulation-based-training; Simulation and training center