Teaching Preclinical Medical Students Basic Acute Care Skills with Full-Scale Human Simulation

Michael Yashar, Samuel O Clarke, Ernest Wang, Wendy Coates, Sebastian Uijtdehaage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Simulation-based training and assessment have gained traction in medical education, though their usefulness to preclinical students remains unclear. Our objectives were to determine (1) the feasibility of a simulation module for teaching students with little or no previous experience in managing undifferentiated, acutely ill patients and (2) its impact on students’ knowledge and attitudes about critical care. Methods: Participants at two medical schools served as their own controls in a pre- and post-intervention design. Students were asked to independently manage an acutely ill patient, and after which, they received teaching on basic life support principles. We evaluated performance with a critical actions checklist, and knowledge and attitudes with a written test before intervention, immediately after, and 6 weeks later. Results: A total of 41 students participated, of which 34 (83 %) were in their first year of medical school. Mean knowledge scores improved from 45.3 to 76.4 %, and retention remained higher than pre-test levels. Only 17 (41 %) students performed the majority of the critical actions in simulation, yet there was a significant improvement in students’ comfort level and self-reported understanding of critical care after the experience and upon retesting. Conclusion: Teaching preclinical students acute care skills with a high-fidelity simulator is feasible and promotes interest in critical care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute care
  • CPR education
  • Education environment
  • High-fidelity simulation
  • Immersive simulation
  • Legitimate peripheral participation
  • Medical education research
  • Medical students
  • Patient management
  • Patient simulation
  • Preclinical medical students
  • Simulation medicine
  • Situativity theory
  • Undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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