Healthcare simulation – staying up to date with the ‘latest’

By Victoria Brazil (@SocraticEM)

The translation of new knowledge to clinical practice has a significant time lag, in part due to the challenge of clinicians keeping up to date with the huge amount of clinical research published every week. Online sources and commentary add even more volume to this challenge.

Clinicians need strategies to deal with this challenge, and Apps and online approaches can help.

Simulation educators interested in staying abreast of contemporary ‘best practice’ suffer the same challenge. The ‘latest’ in scenario design, SP methodology, debriefing or new technology is unlikely to be found in a single source, or by simply discussing with local colleagues.

Journals have been the traditional dissemination strategy for research and innovation reports in health professional education. Many simulation articles are published in dedicated simulation journals – Advances in Simulation, Simulation in Healthcare, Clinical Simulation in Nursing and BMJ Simulation and Technology Enabled Learning (STEL).

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High quality simulation literature is also found in clinical discipline journals (emergency medicine, anaesthesia, paramedicine, nursing and more), in health professional education journals (eg Medical Education, Academic Medicine, Medical Teacher), and in patient safety journals (eg. International Journal for Quality in Healthcare).  Research on more technical aspects of simulation may be found in informatics or bioengineering sources.

Volume and diversity are good for the field but challenging for the average simulation educator to keep up with.

Conferences and seminars may be criticized as inefficient for knowledge transfer, but are very useful for networking, inspiration, and a few new ideas. These include simulation conferences – the US based International meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH), the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine conference (SESAM)  , more generic health professional education conferences – Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), Canada’s International conference on Residency Education (ICRE), the Australia and New Zealand Health Professional Educators conference (ANZAHPE) , and professional discipline conferences

Increasingly, clinicians and educators are looking to independent online and social medial sources for curated educational content ie summaries and commentary on primary literature. Eg LITFL Reviews, The Resus room journal club, and KeyLIME podcasts.

Simulation Educators are no different, and offerings in this regard are growing, including Debrief2learn (resources, blog and podcast), Simulcast (Blog and podcast), Medical Training Magazine  (industry news), and AMEE webinars (presentations by researchers – membership required.)

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(NB. clearly biased by the fact I asked this question on Twitter!)

Industry and commercial educational providers also offer courses, updates and online CPD –, Center for Medical Simulation, Laerdal, and many others. (Acknowledging the commercial interest in this style of content – nil personal disclosures)

Professional societies offer platforms for discussion of latest stuff – eg Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH) SimConnect. SESAM, Canadian Network for Simulation in healthcare, and AMEE ,

With these diverse sources in mind, here’s some strategies simulation educators might consider in their quest to ‘keep up to date’.

  1. Subscribe to the Table of Contents (TOC) or ‘article alerts’ of any key simulation or health professional education journals you read. These can come into your email inbox or via an RSS feed (see below) or website/ app like QxMD. Most allow specific alerts to terms like ‘simulation’
  2. Use an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed eg Feedly – this is a way for all your online simulation sources to be aggregates and channeled into a single App/ website you can review when convenient. Feedly has subcategories eg you can collect ‘sim’ sources in one group and your clinical discipline sources in another if you want
  3. Podcast App – I think everyone has these now….. subscribe direct to your sim podcasts (disclosure – one of these is Simulcast which I co-produce with Jesse Spurr and Ben Symon)
  4. Twitter – follow relevant hashtags #FOAMsim, #hcsim #medicalsimulation and conferences (eg #IMSH2018), and follow the Twitter handles of individuals and organizations involved in simulation education and research. This is a great way to find links to articles that others are reading.
  5. Write an article or give a talk on how to stay up to date in sim!

This post is very far from exhaustive and influenced by my own personal simulation interests and networks. Please add more thoughts and ideas in the comments.



Featured photo courtesy of COD Newsroom via Flickr