Crash simulation: an immersive learning model.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Far West New South Wales Local Emergency Management Committee runs an annual crash simulation exercise to assess the operational readiness of all local emergency services to coordinate and manage a multi-casualty exercise.

CONTEXT

Since 2009, the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH) has collaborated with the committee, enabling the inclusion of health students in this exercise. It is an immersive interprofessional learning experience that evaluates teamwork, communication and safe effective clinical trauma management outside the hospital setting.

INNOVATION

After 7 years of modifying and developing the exercise, we set out to evaluate its impact on the students' learning, and sought ethics approval from the University of Sydney for this study. At the start of this year's crash simulation, students were given information sheets and consent forms with regards to the research. Once formal debriefing had finished, the researchers conducted a semi-structured focus-group interview with the health students to gain insight into their experience and their perceived value of the training. Students also completed short-answer questionnaires, and the anonymised responses were analysed. Crash simulation … evaluates teamwork, communication and safe effective clinical trauma management IMPLICATIONS: Participants identified that this multidisciplinary learning opportunity in a pre-hospital mass casualty situation was of value to them. It has taken them outside of their usually protected hospital or primary care setting and tested their critical thinking and communication skills. We recommend this learning concept to other educational institutions. Further research will assess the learning value of the simulated event to the other agencies involved.

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