Interprofessional simulation in a student community clinic: insights from an educational framework and contact theory

Susan Waller, Debra Nestel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Simulation in community care is a relatively understudied area. In this paper, we report a qualitative evaluation of the Simulated Client Interprofessional Education (SCIPE) program in a community clinic for undergraduate health and social care students in a rural setting. We sought to explore the stakeholders’ perceptions and experiences of training for, and conduct of, a simulated client-based activity to support the development of collaborative practice of students. We used an educational framework (presage, process, product–3P) and contact theory to analyse the evaluation data and suggest improvement strategies. Methods: Data on professional characteristics was collected from facilitators, simulated client and students. Facilitators and simulated clients received training. Written evaluations were collected after training and after the simulated clinics. Purposively sampled facilitators, students and community partner agencies participated in individual semi-structured interviews to gain deeper insights into experiences. Results: Fourteen clinics involved 5 facilitators, 12 simulated clients and 40 students. Fifteen interviews were conducted. The SCIPE program led to perceived improvements in students’ communication and awareness of interprofessional collaboration. Participation in the program enabled students to experience a holistic approach to client interviewing and development of competency in collaborative goal setting. Further attention to presage and ability of facilitators to build positive contact conditions was identified. Coordination from a central site facilitated exchange and quality assurance for all elements of the program. Scoping of conditions of positive contact enabled a greater understanding of students’ and facilitators’ evaluation of the experience and constraints which would be modifiable for future improvement and sustainability. Discussion: Although the SCIPE program benefited students, the need for more explicit organisational engagement and support was revealed in interviews. The use of 3P and contact theory was helpful in identifying elements of the program for maintenance and development. Future research could follow students into practice to see if the behaviours are sustained and translated. Strengths included broad stakeholder involvement and immediate feedback. The key limitation was that the activity lacked explicit institutional support, facilitators required further training in briefing and the outcomes largely refer to participants’ perceptions and may not translate to practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalAdvances in Simulation
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • General Social Sciences
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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