Development of the Rural Inter-professional Simulation Course

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Gutenstein M, Kiuru S, Withington S. Development of a Rural Inter-professional Simulation Course: an initiative to improve trauma and emergency team management in New Zealand rural hospitals. Journal of Primary Health Care [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2019 Feb 17]; Available from (Open Access):

Fresh publication from three conveners from the Rural Postgraduate Programme and founders of the RISC. A very topical publication especially given two papers recently published (by the same author) in two Australian Journals detailing that rural doctors want and need more training in emergency and trauma.(1,2) Perhaps NZ is ahead of the game on this one!

Information about RISC


BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT: New Zealand is a largely rural nation. Despite the regionalisation of trauma services, rural hospitals continue to provide trauma and emergency care. A dedicated rural inter-professional team-based simulation course was designed, as part of a wider strat- egy of using simulation-based education to address the disparity in experience and training for rural hospital teams providing emergency and trauma care.

ASSESSMENT: A pre-course questionnaire identified learning needs. Post-course evaluationand a follow-up survey assessed participants’ perception of the course, and whether lasting changes in clinical or organisational practice occurred.

RESULTS: Three courses were provided over 2 years to 60 interprofessional participants from eight rural hospitals. The course employed an interprofessional faculty and used skill work-shops and high-fidelity trauma simulations to address learning needs identified in pre-courseresearch. Evaluation showed the course to be an effective learning experience for partici- pants. The post-course survey indicated possible lasting changes in team performance and rural hospital protocols. This educational strategy also allowed the collection of research data for investigating rural team dynamics and interprofessional learning.

STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVEMENT: Further development of rural interprofessional simulation courses should include more diverse clinical content, including paediatric and medical sce-narios. Participant access was sometimes limited by typical rural challenges such as hospital staffing and locum availability.

LESSONS: Rural simulation-based education is both effective for rural trauma team training and a vehicle for rural research; however, there are challenges to participant access and course sustainability, which echo the rural–urban disparity.


1. Pandit T, Ray R, Sabesan S. Review article: Managing medical emergencies in rural Australia: A systematic review of the training needs. Emergency Medicine Australasia. 2019;31(1):20–8.

2. Pandit T, Sabesan S, Ray RA. Medical emergencies in rural North Queensland: Doctors perceptions of the training needs. Australian Journal of Rural Health. 2018;26(6):422–8.

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