Simulation Fellowship Programs: An International Survey of Program Directors

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Abstract

Purpose

To report on the evolution of simulation-based training (SBT) by identifying the composition and infrastructure of existing simulation fellowship programs, describing the current training practices, disclosing existing program barriers, and highlighting opportunities for standardization.

Method

Investigators conducted a cross-sectional survey study among English-speaking simulation fellowship program directors (September 2014–September 2015). They identified fellowships through academic/institutional Web sites, peer-reviewed literature, Web-based search engines, and snowball sampling. They invited programs to participate in the Web-based questionnaire via e-mail and follow-up telephone calls.

Results

Forty-nine programs met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 32 (65%) responded to the survey. Most programs were based in the United States, but others were from Canada, England, and Australia. Over half of the programs started in or after 2010. Across all 32 programs, 186 fellows had graduated since 1998. Fellows and directors were primarily departmentally funded; programs were primarily affiliated with hospitals and/or medical schools, many of which had sponsoring centers accredited by governing bodies. Fellows were typically medical trainees; directors were typically physicians. The majority of programs (over 90%) covered four core objectives, and all endorsed similar educational outcomes. Respondents identified no significant universal barriers to program success. Most directors (18/28 [64%]) advocated standardized fellowship guidelines on a national level.

Conclusions

Paralleling the fast growth and integration of SBT, fellowship training opportunities have grown rapidly in the United States, Canada, and beyond. This study highlights potential areas for standardization and accreditation of simulation fellowships which would allow measurable competencies in graduates.

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