Ward round simulation in final year medical students: Does it promote students learning?

<p><b>Introduction:</b> Ward round skills are essential for doctors in hospital settings. Literature shows medical students’ deficiencies in these skills. Simulation has been used to train these skills. However, exposing learners to simulation at an early stage may be associated with a high cognitive load and limited learning. This study aims to determine how students experience this load and its interplay with performance and which factors promote and impair learning.</p> <p><b>Methods:</b> Fifty-six final year medical students participated in a simulated ward round training exercise. Both students’ performance and cognitive load were measured to determine if there was any correlation and interviews were carried out to understand which factors support and impair learning.</p> <p><b>Results:</b> Performance scores revealed deficiencies in ward round skills. Students experienced a cognitive load that weakly correlated with performance. Qualitative findings provided important insights into simulated ward-based learning. It is clear that well-designed clinical scenarios, prioritization tasks, teamwork and feedback support students’ learning process whereas distractions impair learning.</p> <p><b>Conclusions:</b> WRS proved to be a good teaching method to improve clinical skills at this stage as the cognitive load is not too high to impair learning. Hence, including tasks in the simulation design can enhance the learning process.</p>