A qualitative descriptive study of SimWars as a meaningful instructional tool

Chaoyan Dong1, Timothy C. Clapper2 and Demian Szyld3

1Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, USA

2TC Curriculum and Instructional Design, LLC, USA

3New York University School of Medicine, New York Simulation Center for the Health Sciences, USA

Submitted: 07/02/2013; Accepted: 30/06/2013; Published: 14/07/2013

Int J Med Educ. 2013; 4:139-145; doi: 10.5116/ijme.51d0.7652

© 2013 Chaoyan Dong et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: To investigate faculty and residents' perceptions of whether SimWars can serve as a meaningful instructional format for Emergency Medicine residents and to identify strategies to implement SimWars effectively in a residency training program.

Methods: In this descriptive interview study, 5 facilitators, 2 contestants, and 8 observers were recruited from an Emergency Medicine residency program at a large, urban, university-based, level-I trauma center. Interview questions were created with the guidance of the social constructivism theory. Participants were interviewed individually. Themes were identified associated with responses to these questions.

Results: (1) SimWars can be a meaningful instructional tool; (2) Debriefings and a well-structured rubric are essential; (3) Competition motivates participants to do their best, but can have a negative impact on them; (4) Residents expect to use the clinical skills, patient management and teamwork skills practiced in SimWars; and (5) Residents need more training on teamwork, including Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety™ (TeamSTEPPS).

Conclusions: With its focus on competition, SimWars can be effective in residents' training when debriefings are guided by well-structured rubrics.