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“Better Together with Medical Student Teachers”

Oral Presentation 7
Dr Davina Carr, Mr Wesley Sterling, Prof Gerry Gormley

 “Better Together with Medical Student Teachers” - Delivering large scale simulation for resuscitation training in partnership with Medical Student Teachers 

Although Out of Hospital (OOH) cardiac arrest (CA) is a rare event, it is of significant public health concern. Early, effective bystander intervention improves survival (Dick-Smith et al., 2021). Basic Life Support (BLS) is an essential skill for all healthcare students (Binkhorst et al., 2020). However, novice healthcare students can experience the tension of low resuscitation self-efficacy (RSE) (Dick-Smith et al., 2021) and a moral duty to act when faced with a CA. Simulation based education is a feasible and acceptable component of BLS training for healthcare students but is resource-intense from a staffing perspective to ensure adequate time for deliberate practice and constructive feedback (Dick-Smith et al., 2021).

With mounting evidence indicating that near-peer facilitators can train novice healthcare students in resuscitation skills to a standard at least equivalent to senior staff (Harvey et al., 2012 and Binkhorst et al., 2020), Queen’s University looked to this pedagogical methodology to meet not only to challenges with staffing but to enhance the learning experience.

Clinical academics with experience in resuscitation training developed a “Train the Trainer” course for medical students. All Medical Student Teachers (MSTs) who attended demonstrated effective resuscitation training skills. Paired MSTs facilitated resuscitation training for groups of twelve. Deliberate practice of resuscitation skills with formative feedback was prioritised. Six staff members supported MSTs.

Outcomes and Conclusions
Post-course evaluation revealed that delivering resuscitation training in partnership with MSTs enhanced the learning experience for novice medical students and also had wider benefits. First-year students valued the approachability, expertise and vicarious experiences offered by MSTs. They praised the content and format. Students with previous resuscitation training were comparable in their ratings and comments. The psychologically safe environment, paired with social and cognitive congruence of participants, maximised learning and resulted in students reporting enhanced RSE. MSTs recognised many benefits: resuscitation skills revision, enhancement of teaching and communication skills, portfolio development and enjoyment. Many were motivated by future professional roles and altruism. They gained confidence from the experience. Almost three hundred students were trained in BLS in one day at a significant cost reduction on previous models. Staff recognised that this approach offered additional benefits to novice students: role modelling, socialisation of new students within the university and the sharing of informal information. Staff-student relationships were enhanced and there was a greater sense of community. Some MSTs continue to facilitate resuscitation training on a voluntary basis in their local communities.