Observational Study Exploring the Efficacy and Effectiveness of a New Model of Peer-Assisted Simulation-Based Learning Clinical Placement
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(1) Background: Immersive simulation-based learning is relevant and effective in health care professional pre-licensure training. Peer-assisted learning has reciprocal benefit for the learner and the teacher. A fully simulated model of fieldwork placement has been utilised at [de-identified] University since 2014, historically employing full-time faculty supervisors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, traditional clinical placement availability diminished. (2) Methods: This mixed-methods prospective observational study aimed to translate the existing faculty-led placement for penultimate-year physiotherapy students to a peer-taught model, thereby creating new teaching placements for final-year students. Final-and penultimate-year physiotherapy students undertook the fully simulated fieldwork placement either as peer learners or peer teachers. The placement was then evaluated using four outcome measures: The ‘measure of quality of giving feedback scale’ (MQF) was used to assess peer learner satisfaction with peer-teacher supervision; plus/delta reflec-tions were provided by peer teachers and faculty supervisors; student pass/fail rates for the penul-timate-year physiotherapy students. (3) Results: For 10 weeks during November and December 2020, 195 students and 19 faculty participated in the placement. Mean MQF scores ranged from 6.4 (SD 0.86) to 6.8 (SD) out of 7; qualitative data reflected positive and negative aspects of the experience. There was a 4% fail rate for penultimate-year students for the placement. Results suggested that peer learners perceived peer-led feedback was of a high quality; there were both positives and challenges experienced using the model. (4) Conclusions: Physiotherapy students effectively adopted a peer-taught fully simulated fieldwork placement model with minimal faculty supervision, and comparable clinical competency outcomes.
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