Cardiac auscultation via simulation: a survey of the approach of UK medical schools

Owen, Samantha Jayne; Wong, Kenneth
September 2015
BMC Research Notes;9/11/2015, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background: A decline in clinical skills of medical students and junior doctors is well documented. We aim to determine how the 32 UK medical schools utilise simulated heart sounds to develop medical students' cardiac auscultation skills. Methods: Representatives of all 32 UK medical schools were contacted with a survey questionnaire. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS. Continuous variables e.g. teaching group size were described using median and interquartile range (IQR). Results: 27 Medical schools use a form of simulated heart sounds as a teaching method (2 representatives were unsure, 3 did not respond). This teaching is mandatory in 17 schools. Simulation-based teaching tends to be offered during 3rd year of medical training [median = 3rd year, interquartile range (IQR) 2-3]. Seven medical schools offered simulation teaching more than once. The median number of students in each session was 7.5 [IQR = 5.5-9.5]. One medical school reported that they were unsure how best to implement the heart sound simulation into the medical undergraduate curriculum. Conclusion: The results of our survey of all the UK medical schools suggest that heart sound simulation are used mainly as an introduction to heart murmurs rather than a tool for repetitive practice, complementing clinical experience. Most medical schools do not measure the impact of such teaching on clinical examination.


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