By: Victoria Brazil
Any textbook that cites Harry Potter is worth considering. Healthcare Simulation Education: Evidence Theory and Practice offers that, and much more, for the simulation practitioner.
Editors Debral Nestel, Michelle Kelly, Brian Jolly and Marcus Watson have drawn together a diverse range of authors to produce a comprehensive, but disciplined, review of current theory and practice in healthcare simulation.
The book traverses the breadth of simulation practice – learning theories, concepts of realism, simulation design, simulated participants, technology, virtual environments, debriefing and facilitation. It also offers perspectives on strategic issues like professional societies, program development, research, funding and the ethics of simulation. These chapters are presented as sharp, focused literature reviews – a dream for novice and expert simulation practitioners who want to quickly get up to speed on a specific topic in just 4-5 pages. Liberal use of diagrams and tables makes the points easy to comprehend, and there is a pleasing absence of pointless pictures – only found where they add value.
The “Innovations” section offers a series of detailed case studies of novel use of simulation – improving home births, organ donation, transport of the critically ill, operationalising new facilities and examples from countries with less well-developed simulation agendas.
A few of my personal favourites from the book
- A sophisticated exploration of realism, fidelity and authenticity, and discussion of the concept of ‘meaningfulness’ in this context.
- A succinct summary of research agendas and strategies from around the world
- The discussion about ‘de-roling’ for simulated participants, and the need to prevent possible psychological impacts of not leaving the simulated role behind.
- Haptics and the latest in virtual environments (yes, plenty here for techno-geeks)
- Looking at simulation beyond healthcare – life skills, recruitment, advocacy, leadership development and simulation as therapy.
- A discussion of communities of practice in simulation – the roles of single discipline and multiprofessional societies for simulation.
- Anticipating and managing adverse events related to simulation – physical and psychological
- A deep dive into ethics and simulation – not just psychological safety for learners, but also the Foucaldian concept of reflective practice being an ethical requirement for professionals.
One of the recurring themes was the need for clarity in terminology, especially in a rapidly evolving field. The authors grapple with this sensibly, and use chapter specific glossaries where required.
Like any textbook, Healthcare Simulation Education will suffer from the inevitable lag between writing and publication, but I think it represents state of the art in 2017. I read it cover to cover, but its greatest value might be for providers (novice and experienced) who need to dip into focused topics for a succinct summary. It will also make an excellent reference text for Simulation Fellows and faculty development programs.
Look out for an interview about the book with one of the editors on an upcoming Simulcast episode.