Fostering “a culture of reflective learning” – inside the new simulation strategy for Wales

Improvement Wales and Health Education has recently launched a simulation-based education and training (SBET) strategy that seeks to enhance both current and future workforce skills using the latest simulation-based technologies.

The document provides a strategic vision for SBET with a central goal of standardising delivery and building on current good practice throughout Wales. It also develops collaborative opportunities with relevant SBET stakeholders in Wales, such as with the Life Sciences Hub Wales, the other nations of the UK and international colleges, to create broader opportunity for enriched inter-professional learning and development.

Five mission statements are provided within the strategy, focusing on inspiring, promoting and supporting the delivery of high-quality, inter-professional SBET; promoting SBET as integral to the development of the healthcare workforce in Wales; advancing healthcare simulation as an important tool for quality improvement and translational science; fostering the development of SBET based on collaborative learning and working; and advocating for patients, service users and learners to be the focus of all SBET training activity.

The document goes on to describe how the strategy is built around four key elements, each detailing the necessary actions required to improve SBET and the wider workforce.

Engaging people and partnerships 

The strategy highlights the role of communications and networking in engaging people and partnerships, encouraging the maximisation of networking opportunities to share information and facilitate engagement between educators, trainers, learners, patients, service users and other stakeholders.

It highlights the importance of establishing collaborations and partnerships across Wales, the UK and internationally in order to harness learning on a wider scale.

The strategy also notes that digital platforms should be developed to share resources and expertise, showcase best practice, facilitate collaborations and enhance communications across the SBET community in Wales.

Promoting quality 

Here, the strategy emphasises the need to provide equitable access to a standardised simulation faculty development programme.

It encourages the the promotion of quality-assured SBET across healthcare in Wales, underpinned by standards and evaluation, to ensure best practice.

On the topic of evaluation, the strategy highlights a need to foster evaluation processes in order to promote a “culture of reflective learning” which should lead to and support improvement.

Supporting simulation delivery 

Improving accessibility is a central aspect of the delivery objective; along with improving deliverability and the utilisation of simulation based educated and training facilities.

This area of the strategy also highlights inter-professional development as key enabler of change – promoting SBET as both “integral and fundamental to inter-professional development and education.”

It encourages the recognition and support of those delivering SBET through the implementation of Continuous Professional Development and performance reviews.

Designing future directions 

The strategy states that current and future developments in immersive technologies should be embraced as a means of optimising the learning experience delivered by SBET.

Research and evaluation should be promoted in order to support the advancement of SBET across Wales, and the strategy notes that knowledge, literature and evidence should be translated into everyday simulation design and delivery.

Sara-Catrin Cook, associate dean for simulation and clinical skills, says: “At the heart of this strategy is patient and service user safety, experience and outcomes.  It is well-known that simulation-based education and training offers many benefits including the ability to provide a wide range of experiences reflecting ‘real-life’ clinical situations.”

Alex Howells, chief executive of Health Education and Improvement Wales, adds: “The investment in simulation-based education that is continually advancing technologically is invaluable and goes beyond its benefits for learners. It ensures equitable access to training reaching rural and urban areas, helps our healthcare system adapt quicker to the fast-paced changes in healthcare and provides high quality care and assurance to patients now and in the future.”

To learn more about the simulation strategy, please click here.