Clinical skills laboratory or clinical simulation: does language matter?



Publication Details

Heaton, L., Andersen, P., Crookes, P. & Wallace, M. (2012). Clinical skills laboratory or clinical simulation: does language matter?. SimHealth 2012: Making Teams Work. 10-13 Sept, Sydney, Australia: Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare.


Aim: The literature available describing simulation and fidelity often leads to confusion with differing accounts, descriptions and terms used inconsistently. There is growing interest in utilising simulation in undergraduate health care education programs, but it is difficult to develop simulation pedagogy into a curriculum when terms used in the literature are unclear. Churchouse & McCafferty (2011) and Thomas (2011) agree that terms used in simulation are often inconsistent and commonly 'misused' and that there is a need for agreement about terms associated with simulation and how they are used. There is concern that simulation in health care education is being developed too hastily with little thought about how the integration of simulation occurs in the curricula. The inconsistent use of terminology will impact on the development of simulation as pedagogy in health care education.

Background: Terminology about simulation can be quite different with some instances depicting the term as a pedagogical approach consistent with behaviourist training methods designed to learn a skill. In others, simulation is an immersive methodology that requires existing knowledge and skills and requires participants to respond to complex situations. The significance of inconsistent terminology has recently been highlighted by The International Nursing Association for Simulation and Learning (INAS CL) (2011) publishing a glossary of terms about simulation. This glossary however, does not necessarily reflect the language people are using about simulation on an international level. To facilitate understanding, terminology needs to have consistent meanings understandable to all involved. It is important to understand definitions and also whether the technique used has had clear benefits to the learning experience of the participant.

Methods: A qualitative design with data collected from individual interviews from a purposive sampling group of people who are actively engaged in clinical simulation and/or clinical skills laboratories related to healthcare. This project draws on the knowledge of educators and their use of terminology in simulation.

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.