Exploring Faculty's Perception of Simulation-Based Education: Benefits and Challenges of Using Simulation for Improving Patient Safety in Cardiovascular Diploma Programme

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Abstract Background: This study considers a cardiovascular diploma programme based at a large institute in Saudi Arabia. The programme was established to educate cardiovascular technologists to work independently after graduation. Students learn in classrooms and in a cardiac catheterisation laboratory (CCL). The programme allows for early exposure of students to the cardiac catheterisation environment; however, this may compromise patient safety. Although simulation has become a cornerstone in healthcare education, allowing students to practise with no risk to the patient, it is underutilised in this programme. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the faculty perception about the use of simulation-based teaching as part of this cardiovascular diploma programme, to improve patient safety. The study also aims to understand the benefits and challenges of simulation utilisation and the suggested solutions. Methods: This was a qualitative study to explore the faculty’ perception. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six faculty using Skype and other online applications. The sampling techniques were purposive, followed by snowballing. Data were transcribed and analysed in between the interview sessions using a framework analysis approach. Findings: The data analyses showed two broad emergent themes: patient safety and perception about simulation, with four subthemes for each. The subthemes of patient safety were learning and teaching, early involvement of students in the cardiac catheterisation laboratory, distraction of the cardiac catheterisation laboratory team and educating students on patient safety. The subthemes of the second theme were the concept of simulation, simulation for patient safety, simulation as a safe learning environment and the challenges and suggested solutions. Conclusions: The faculty of the cardiovascular programme appreciated the role of simulation in improving patient safety. The under-utilisation of simulation for educating cardiovascular students were due to the faculty limited knowledge of the concept of simulation and constrain the time of the clinical educators. The study recommends integrating simulation into the curriculum of the cardiovascular diploma programme to improve patient safety. Moreover, the curriculum developer of the diploma programme recommended consulting a healthcare simulation educator to maximise the benefit of simulation in the programme.