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29.10.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 3/2019

Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) 3/2019

Improving safety for medical students and patients during medical electives—a novel simulation-based course

Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) > Ausgabe 3/2019
Robert M. Maweni, Robert W. Foley, Micol Lupi, Amy Woods, Shahram Shirazi, Vaughan Holm, Stella Vig



The medical elective is a common component of undergraduate medical education in the UK and Ireland. These are often undertaken in varied hospitals and countries across the world, most of which are not related to their parent institutions, in order to explore specialties and regions of interest. However experiences are varied, with goals not always established beforehand, or indeed reached, when present.


Using a novel 20-item, self-administered questionnaire distributed via social media to 436 medical students and doctors in the UK and Republic of Ireland, we sought to delineate common elective experiences and establish what procedures and clinical scenarios medical students commonly undertake and manage during their medical electives, in order to ascertain their confidence level with each of these tasks at the time of their medical electives. We also looked to determine if there are any adverse effects or events related to these situations. Following this, we developed a simulation-based course to address knowledge and skill gaps identified in the above fields. This course was delivered to two groups of medical students from St George’s University London and King’s College London medical schools by the same faculty over two separate afternoons.


We found that a significant proportion of medical students feel pressured to perform skills, which are beyond their competence level during their elective placements, putting both patient and student safety at risk. Our simulation course was successful in significantly improving key technical and non-technical skills, which would be useful for students during their medical electives.

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