BACKGROUND: The application and extent of simulation-based education use within cardiorespiratory physiotherapy postgraduate education (in-house/regional provisions) and emergency oncall services were previously unexplored.
OBJECTIVES: This survey aimed to investigate the extent to which simulation-based education is currently utilised by physiotherapy services in the UK.
DESIGN: A national postal questionnaire-based survey.
SETTING: All 280 National Health Service Critical/Intensive Care Units in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, providing emergency on-call physiotherapy services were included in the survey.
PARTICIPANTS: Emergency on-call physiotherapy service leads.
METHOD: A self-administered 20-item postal questionnaire survey was designed to establish the extent to which simulation-based education was currently being used within cardio-respiratory physiotherapy post-registration training.
RESULTS: A useable response rate of 55% (155/280) was achieved, representing a range of respiratory and emergency on-call service leads. Sixty-one Trusts (39%) currently use simulation within acute respiratory or emergency on-call postgraduate training. The provision of simulation equipment varied with respect to type, fidelity and accessible to the physiotherapy service. Simulation-based education featured in emergency on-call induction, updates, competency assessment, assessment skills, treatment skills and scenarios (75, 92, 39, 28, 82, 48% respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Simulation is currently used to teach a wide variety of cardio-respiratory physiotherapy skills relevant to the acute respiratory and on-call environments. Adoption was dependent upon local facilities, needs and training requirements. National inconsistencies in availability, fidelity and accessibility were identified. The evidence base surrounding the current use of simulation-based education within physiotherapy is limited and evidence of transferability to the practice arena remains relatively unknown. Future research is warranted to determine the education outcomes, impact on skill performance, competency, retention and patient safety when integrating SBE within EOC training activities.