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.Conclusion
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.