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Low- to high-fidelity simulation – a continuum of medical education?


*Dr Nicola J Maran, Scottish Clinical Simulation Centre, Livilands Gate, Stirling, FK8 2AU. Tel.: 01786 434480; Fax: 01786 446026; E-mail:


Context  Changes in medical training and culture have reduced the acceptability of the traditional apprenticeship style training in medicine and influenced the growth of clinical skills training. Simulation is an educational technique that allows interactive, and at times immersive, activity by recreating all or part of a clinical experience without exposing patients to the associated risks. The number and range of commercially available technologies used in simulation for education of health care professionals is growing exponentially. These range from simple part-task training models to highly sophisticated computer driven models.

Aim  This paper will review the range of currently available simulators and the educational processes that underpin simulation training. The use of different levels of simulation in a continuum of training will be discussed. Although simulation is relatively new to medicine, simulators have been used extensively for training and assessment in many other domains, most notably the aviation industry. Some parallels and differences will be highlighted.

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