Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Low fidelity interdisciplinary ward simulation for patient safety: how feasible and effective is it in undergraduate healthcare training?

Kennedy, J; Berragan, E; Ellis, A


J Kennedy

E Berragan

A Ellis


It has been shown that UK nursing and medical students feel un-prepared for registered practice and foundation jobs (Whitehead and Holmes, 2011; Goldacre et al., 2010). A key reason for this is lack of experience in prioritisation, difficulties managing workloads and increased stress levels (Monaghan, 2015; Monrouxe et al., 2014).

We have piloted a new collaborative programme between the University of the West of England and Bristol University delivering multi-disciplinary ward based simulation teaching to a cohort of 70 final year nursing and medical students. The programme aimed to improve prioritisation skills, management of patient safety and care and inter-disciplinary team work. We delivered this with realistic staffing levels to assess the feasibility of embedding the programme within the undergraduate curicula for health care students.

Nursing students delivered care, assessed patients, referred to the ‘doctor’ and initiated treatment. Medical students worked as the junior doctor on-call; triaging bleeps, undertaking a variety of ward jobs, and managing sick patients. At several ‘time out’ points during the ward simulation all students gathered to discuss issues that emerged and developed suggestions and solutions.

Qualitative and quantitative data collected from students and staff overwhelmingly suggested that not only was the on-call ward simulation an effective way of improving confidence in prioritisation and on-call skills, it was also a preferred method of understanding the roles of allied health care professionals and how to best support each other to promote patient safety. This pilot project also showed the effectiveness of students acting as patients in the scenarios which allowed them a fresh perspective, decreased running costs and a friendly learning environment.

We hope to better equip medical and nursing students for the challenges of registered practice. By understanding co-workers roles, challenges and limitations we hope to foster more effective interdisciplinary communication and most importantly improve patient safety.


Kennedy, J., Berragan, E., & Ellis, A. (2015, June). Low fidelity interdisciplinary ward simulation for patient safety: how feasible and effective is it in undergraduate healthcare training?. Paper presented at ASME 2015 and SESAM 2015, Belfast

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name ASME 2015 and SESAM 2015
Conference Location Belfast
Start Date Jun 24, 2015
End Date Jun 26, 2015
Acceptance Date Mar 19, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords interdisciplinary simulation, patient safety
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : ASME 2015, SESAM 2015