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Interprofessional simulation as an enhancement of psychological fidelity: A focus group study of medical and nursing students

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bryan BurfordORCiD, Professor Gill Vance



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background and AimsInterprofessional simulation has the potential to enhance the perceived realism of clinical simulation in the education of different healthcare professionals. This study considers how the inclusion of more than one profession in clinical simulation contributes to this psychological fidelity, defined as the subjective perception of the realism of a simulation, and the cues identified by medical and nursing students.MethodsEight focus groups were carried out with 27 medical and 18 nursing students in Newcastle and Oxford, UK. These were carried out immediately after students’ participation in simulation sessions consisting of three acute scenarios. Focus group discussions encompassed perceptions of the realism of the simulation and of participants’ own and other professional groups. Thematic analysis was carried out on transcripts.ResultsAnalysis identified features of psychological fidelity that were influenced by the interprofessional element of the simulation. These included overall impressions of realism, and the perceived roles and expectations of doctors and nurses within the simulation. In particular, the presence of the other professional group afforded a more authentic response.Other features varied with the viewpoint of the student groups, in particular the realism of the patient manikin, which held lower psychological fidelity for the nursing students, because it did not allow them to fulfil their perceived role of delivering holistic, relational care.ConclusionRecognising ‘psychological fidelity’ as a subjective response to simulation allows greater consideration of the limitations of fidelity as a designed or engineered property of a simulation. While interprofessional involvement directly enhances psychological fidelity in some ways, potential differences in the views of students from different professional groups should be considered when implementing interprofessional simulation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burford B, Grieg P, Kelleher M, Merriman C, Platt A, Richards E, Davidson N, Vance G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Science Reports

Year: 2023

Volume: 6

Issue: 5

Print publication date: 02/05/2023

Online publication date: 02/05/2023

Acceptance date: 16/04/2023

Date deposited: 21/04/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2398-8835

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/hsr2.1237


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ASME/ASPiH joint award