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Abstract

Objectives This study was undertaken as a precursor to a larger study investigating the benefits of simulation in reducing management and technique errors in the prehospital management of trauma patients. However, prior to this it was considered necessary to conduct a preliminary study to address the following: Undertake a structured evaluation of the Laerdal SimMan Patient Simulator. Determine the "functional fidelity" of the Laerdal SimMan Patient Simulator that was used in this project from the Paramedic perspective.

Methods Participants taking part in the study were invited to complete an evaluation form that examined the various components of the simulator. A second evaluation form examined both the features of the simulator and their applicability to Paramedic practice. The simulator capabilities were assessed through an evaluation of the simulator features, and, with a qualitative element included, provided a descriptive analysis of simulator functional fidelity.

Results Analysis identified 36 of 54 features (66%) of the simulator were rated by the respondents as at least 'average physiological accuracy'. An analysis of applicability to practice identified 41 of 54 features (75%) were rated at least beneficial to practice by greater than 80% of respondents. In combining these results, only 5 features considered applicable to Paramedic practice demonstrated a below average level of physiological accuracy. These findings indicate that, as a general concept, the use of this particular simulator as an educational experience was held in high regard within this cohort of participants.

Conclusions Previous studies in related health disciplines have identified an acceptance of a patient simulator as a learning tool by students. This study supports these findings, with Paramedic students evaluating the Laerdal SimMan Patient Simulator as having high functional fidelity, using the criteria outlined for this study. The findings from this study afford the opportunity for ongoing educational initiatives and research in the training of Paramedics utilising the Patient Simulator.

Author Biography

Frank Archer BMedSci(Hons), MBBS, MEd, MPH, FRACGP, FIMC(RCSEd), FAFPHM, FASMF

Frank is currently the director of the Monash University Centre for Ambulance and Paramedic Studies. He was previously the State Ambulance Medical Director for Victoria in the Department of Human Services - a position he had held for the previous 20 years. He also has a concurrent appointment as one of the four Medical Directors for the Metropolitan Ambulance Service in Melbourne.

Frank's first contact with the ambulance service was when he was employed as an Ambulance Officer during his long vacations whilst a medical student. He presented his first paper at the First Seminar on the Management of Road Traffic Casualties conducted by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1999. The title of his paper was, "Care Before Casualty - Current Shortcomings".

Following his graduation and hospital residencies, Frank combined clinical practice as a general practitioner with (initially) a four year period teaching anatomy to medical students at Monash University and later in a range of appointments within the Ambulance Service. Frank commenced a formal appointment as the "Ambulance Service Medical Officer" in 1976, combining responsibilities primarily for the development of the Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance program in Victoria, within both the Department of Human Services and the Metropolitan Ambulance Service, whilst based at the Ambulance Officers' Training Centre. These concurrent appointments continued until his appointment at Monash University in May 1999.

During these ambulance appointments, Frank has been a member of many teams which have led a series of innovations in ambulance policy, research and development, clinical practice education and operations, many of which have been benchmarks for interstate programs and have attracted international attention.

Frank has post graduate clinical fellowships in general practice, immediate medical care and public health medicine. He is also a member of a number of national and international committees in the area of prehospital care.

Andrea Wyatt

MICA Paramedic, BSc, BParamedic Studies, MEd

Andrea's professional background is as a MICA Paramedic and Senior Lecturer at the Monash University Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice.

CertAppSc(Ambulance) (AOTC), MICACert(AOTC), BParamedStudies, BA(SocSciences), DipFrontlineMgt.

Brian is a lecturer at Monash University Centre for Ambulance and Paramedic Studies.

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