The Role of Low-Fidelity Clinical Simulation in Labor and Delivery

In the context of reducing patient harm to maternal and newborn patients, this article from Laerdal discusses the role of low-fidelity simulation in labor and delivery. When planning simulation for Labor and Delivery (LD), it would be easy to assume a need for a high fidelity, full-bodied birthing simulator. But, depending on the learning goals of the curriculum, the degree of realism may not need to be extensive. Low-fidelity simulation can provide learners with valuable training experience, and it can be done at minimal expense. As a means to train for and reduce preventable harm to maternal and newborn patients, Laerdal Medical recently shared how low-fidelity simulation can be used in a multitude of meaningful ways:

1. Using Task Trainers to Improve Skills Performance: Task trainers are particularly useful in situations that require repeated, deliberate practice. In LD, a great opportunity to introduce a task trainer is in the training of birthing assessments and different delivery protocols. Allowing learners to practice hands-on skills at their own pace and without the complexity of a clinically in-depth scenario, they can emerge confident in their abilities.

For educators, task trainers offer a way to measure progress and confirm that learners have mastered the necessary skills. Once learners can perform skills to a pre-determined standard, educators can move them onto high-fidelity healthcare simulation experiences or allow them to treat real patients. They can do this with the assurance that learners have gained the necessary foundational experience.


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2. Using Standardized Patients to Teach Interpersonal Communication Skills: By using a standardized patient (SP), a practitioner can develop his or her interpersonal communication skills. SPs can verbalize symptoms that they are experiencing, which makes them useful in gathering a patient’s history and diagnosing symptoms. By using a SP to convey certain critical information, healthcare professionals are required to:

  • Observe the patient’s body language
  • Interpret the patient’s tone of voice
  • Listen carefully to the patient’s description of symptoms

Incorporating a SP in a scenario can bring simulation training to life simply by showing a real, human element. Learners can converse with a “real” patient and make observations that help to form a more accurate diagnosis.

3. Using Hybrid Simulation to Integrate Technical and Communication Skills: Task trainers and standardized patients serve two very different purposes as described above. However, they share one key benefit, which is that they can both be used in creative ways to amplify a simulation. Hybrid simulation – when two or more simulation modalities are used in the same clinical simulation session – can expand this creativity.

For example, attaching a task trainer to a standardized patient can give learners the chance to practice procedural skills in the context of a living, breathing patient. Combining the two forms of simulation in one single scenario can help to effectively teach the complexities associated with birth. Learners can simultaneously practice building rapport with a patient as they rehearse real-world delivery maneuvers.


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Simulation is Never a One-size-fits-all Solution

Each simulation center program’s size, budget, and learning goals are very different; therefore, each simulation should and will be different too. For scenarios that do not require high-fidelity, high-resource medical simulation equipment, task trainers and standardized patients can be great options to consider. Click the link below to read more of Laerdal’s original article:

Learn more about The Role of Low-Fidelity Simulation in Labor and Delivery!


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