An exploration of the barriers and enablers to meaningful engagement with multidisciplinary simulation education among doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department

Miss Samantha Hoole1

1Royal Darwin Hospital, Nightcliff, Australia

This research was designed to identify barriers and enablers to meaningful engagement with multidisciplinary simulation based education in a tertiary teaching hospital emergency department.

Simulation based education is gaining traction in the health care arena with the wealth of evidence to prove its benefit developing rapidly. There is now proven benefit for skill acquisition, communication, knowledge development, recognition and management of clinical deterioration all of which translates into improved patient safety and health care outcomes. This evidence is international and across disciplines and healthcare sectors.

The inception of this research came when medical and nursing staff expressed distaste and dissatisfaction with the multidisciplinary simulation based education that made up a core part of the weekly registrar teaching program. Evidence of work avoidance or late arrivals became apparent as staff used this as a tool to avoid participation. Poor engagement by participants led to poor performance in the simulation which in turn seemed to drive a lack of willingness to further participate. Individuals stated they were unable to “suspend their disbelief” or engage in the moment. This poor engagement and performance even when displayed by a single individual significantly impacted the progression and development of simulation scenarios and impeded the learning of others. Research was undertaken to try and identify what barriers and enablers exist to engagement with simulation based education. The outcome of such research would enable educators and organisations to create a more relevant, relatable and meaningful learning opportunity for medical and nursing staff in the emergency department.

In order to investigate this, a two phase exploratory, mixed methods study was constructed. This used a validated survey to investigate experiences and attitudes towards simulation based education followed by semi-structured, face to face interview.

This study is still ongoing with the results anticipated to be completed by 2018.


Sam is an Acting Clinical Nurse Educator in Royal Darwin Hospital Emergency Department where her focus is on staff development and progression through each clinical area.

Sam has always been passionate about the education and development of nurses in the emergency department and changing the culture to one of support and “can-do”. Education is part of the role of every nurse, by embracing our roles as teachers and advocates we can make take meaningful steps in the direction of positive workplace culture, staff satisfaction and patient safety is by empowering nurses through meaningful education.

Sam is currently undertaking research which looks into attitudes towards simulation based education with the primary focus on the barriers and enablers to meaningful engagement.