Each month the Prehospital Care Research Forumcombs the literature to identify recent studies relevant to EMS education practices. In this segment PCRF board member Megan Corry shares her insight on a journal article that can help bring evidence-based practices to EMS education.

Sinz E, Rudy S, Wojnar M, Bortner T. Teaching Simulation Literacy in Adult Healthcare Education: A Qualitative Action Research Study. Adult Education Research Conference, http://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3359&context=aerc.

A few years ago the SUPER study showed us that simulation in EMS education programs is still in its infancy.1 Despite having access to high-fidelity manikins and simulation resources, most EMS education programs are ill-equipped to operate the technical functions and, more important, lack faculty training on simulation pedagogy.

Simulation training courses for medical education and professional societies were formed in the early 2000s to provide leadership and educator development; however, the research is scarce on simulation literacy among instructors in adult healthcare education. Elizabeth Sinz, MD, et al. used participatory action research and qualitative methods to better understand the process of developing a simulation instructor course.

Action research in education is an empowering and disciplined method of using research methodology to improve teaching practice. Over a two-year period, the researchers ran seven five-day simulation instructor courses for healthcare educators. Faculty were selected by expertise in simulation. Course trainees were experienced teachers in a variety of healthcare disciplines. It’s unclear from the study whether any of the trainees were EMS educators. Trainees were surveyed daily, and designated observers took notes during the sessions. This study used the daily trainee feedback and observations to continuously develop student expertise in simulation education and improve the course while adding to the body of knowledge on simulation instructor courses.

The researchers recognized that the trainees’ reflections aided their understanding through experiential learning, which is supported in adult education theory. Post-hoc analysis of the data from two years of research revealed a few prominent themes that might not surprise the EMS educator:

  1. A recognition that education theory is important, particularly related to simulation and experiential learning theory (students called for more connections to theory, so the researchers responded with regular “journal club” sessions);
  2. Practical application requires practice, especially in debriefing and scenario development (students wanted to make clearer connections to objectives and competencies, and link this to levels of simulation, types of manikins, etc.).
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