Untapped resource: the simulation-based healthcare environment as a means to study human stress

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Abstract

The effects of ‘stress’ within the healthcare professions are wide-reaching, not least of all within the field of simulation based healthcare education. Whilst this popular method of experiential learning offers a ‘safe space’ for participants to develop their skillset, it also has a more surreptitious action; namely, the incubation of simulation-related stress. Currently, research concerning the complex relationship between stress, learning, and performance is ambiguous, leaving fertile ground for simulationists to debate what level of stress is appropriate for an optimised educational experience. In this narrative review, we examine the human response to stress and outline the various methods that have been used by researchers to measure stress in a quantifiable and standardised way. We then provide a brief overview of simulation-based healthcare education before describing why stress responses have been of interest to healthcare educationalists for some time. Finally, we outline how simulation education environments might provide an ideal environment for studying the human response to stress generally, with ramifications extending beyond the field of medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalThe Ulster Medical Journal
Volume92
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Stress analysis
  • Simulation-based education
  • Student performance

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