International Journal of Healthcare Simulation
Adi Health+Wellness
51 Preparing Ward Staff for Covid-19: Can Remote Simulation Replace Face-to-Face Learning?
DOI 10.54531/MLHJ3772, Volume: 1, Issue: Supplement 1, Pages: A20-A21
Article Type: In Practice, Article History

Table of Contents





Human factors are essential to patient and staff safety, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic with redeployment of staff to different roles in unfamiliar environments [1]. With concerns that the second pandemic wave would engender greater pressures on general medical wards, the simulation team at a London teaching hospital set out to create a multi-disciplinary educational programme for ward staff caring for COVID-19 patients. The course, planned for face-to-face delivery, was rapidly converted to online simulation at the height of the pandemic.


The aim of the study was to ascertain the efficacy of converting face-to-face simulation and debriefing into online asynchronous video-based scenarios and debriefing, to enhance understanding of human factors skills.


In October 2020, a half-day simulation course commenced. Due to suspension of face-to-face teaching in December 2020 with COVID-19 cases rising, this was converted into a half-day online format through filming faculty participating in the existing scenarios. These films were shown to participants, followed by asynchronous online debriefing via Microsoft Teams. Both formats had e-learning as a pre-requisite. Data were collected using pre- and post-session questionnaires containing the Human Factors Skills for Healthcare Instrument (HuFSHI) [2]. Learners who attended both formats were excluded from quantitative analysis.


Post-training, staff demonstrated improvement in self-efficacy of human factors skills for healthcare. There was no statistical significance between mean improvements for both formats; the greatest improvement was split equally (Table 1). 100% found the face-to-face (N = 24) useful, versus 98% online (N = 54). Communication was the skill most learnt (face-to-face 58%, online 65%), with teamwork (face-to-face 50%, online 48%), escalation (face-to-face 42%, online 57%) and self-care (face-to-face 38%, online 19%) also frequently mentioned. Aspect’s learners’ thought were good included the discussion-based element (face-to-face 50%, online 37%), interactivity (face-to-face 13%, online 31%), multi-disciplinary team involvement (face-to-face 13%, online 20%) and videos for the online format (19%). 21% wanted the face-to-face longer, 15% wanted the online shorter. 9% would rather the online was face-to-face.

Implications for practice:

Online asynchronous debriefing produced similar outcomes to face-to-face for teaching human factors. We posit that this was because the videos were not ‘best practice’ – thus stimulating learning conversations, which accessed learners’ frames and past experiences. Challenges for faculty included: pace and volume of sessions, managing psychological safety, emotive discussions, screen fatigue, and technical aspects. A 6-month follow-up survey is planned and will be included in the presentation. Further work is required to understand why the results were similar.

Dunnell, Sowole, Maule, Laws-Chapman, and El-Alami: 51 Preparing Ward Staff for Covid-19: Can Remote Simulation Replace Face-to-Face Learning?



Alagha MA, Jaulin F, Yeung W, Celi LA, Cosgriff CV, Myers LC. Patient harm during COVID-19 pandemic: using a human factors lens to promote patient and workforce safety. J Patent Safety. 2021;17(2):8789.


Reedy GB, Lavelle M, Simpson T, Anderson JE. Development of the Human Factors Skills for Healthcare Instrument: a valid and reliable tool for assessing inter-professional learning across healthcare practice settings. BMJ Simul Technol Enhanc Learning. 2017;3:135141. Preparing Ward Staff for Covid-19: Can Remote Simulation Replace Face-to-Face Learning?&author=&keyword=&subject=In Practice,