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An All-Wales definition of Simulation-based education

Simulation is a learning tool that supports development through experiential learning by creating or replicating a particular set of conditions which resemble real life situations.

It should provide a safe environment where participants can learn from their mistakes without any danger to patients, allowing individuals to analyse and respond to these realistic situations, with the aim of developing or enhancing their knowledge, skills, behaviour and attitudes. (Hawker et al. 2022)

Background to the All-Wales definition of Simulation-based education

Numerous definitions for simulation or simulation-based education (SBE) exist, but there is no universally agreed definition.

A working definition for SBE was created by HEIW's Simulation Team in 2020 and shared with the healthcare simulation community across Wales. The team subsequently undertook a Delphi study (2021/22) to reach a consensus on an 'All-Wales' definition of SBE.

Various stages of the Delphi study included:

  • A review of existing literature regarding definitions of simulation and SBE
  • Discussions with experts in the use of Delphi study methodology
  • Development of a research protocol
  • Application for ethical approval
  • Construct of the Delphi study questionnaires
  • Recruitment of simulation experts to the study from across Wales.
The Delphi study

The study comprised three rounds of online surveys where the expert panel were asked to consider statements around the definition and characteristics of simulation as described in the existing literature. Any statements not reaching consensus, and any new statements offered during round one, were included in the second round.

In the final round, participants were asked to rank all statements which reached consensus in rounds one and two in order of priority from 1- the most important to 10- the least important. Responses were inversely scored and collated. Three members of the research team reviewed and validated the consensus statements at the end of each round.

This is the first study to use a Delphi technique to agree an interprofessional definition of SBE at a national level. The definition is being shared more widely with key stakeholders from across the four nations of the UK with scope to reach UK wide consensus.


To cite the above definition please reference as follows:

Hawker C, Diaz-Navarro C, Jones B, Mitra S, Cook SC & Bartholomew B. 2022. Developing an All-Wales definition of Simulation-Based Education. International Journal of Healthcare Simulation. 2(1): A40-A41. doi: 10.54531/INHM4618

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