Last updated: 18.04.18

Simulating training in healthcare

Individuals who work in the healthcare sector experience ever-changing situations within their day-to-day role. This can be problematic when carrying out training, as it can be difficult and time-consuming to replicate every scenario, especially considering the lack of time around normal duties and the lack of available professionals to help lead the training.

However, with advances in technology and the regular availability of innovative digital training, many UK hospitals are turning to simulation and the virtual world to train healthcare professionals in medical procedures.

What is simulation training?

Simulation training, also known as simulation-based training, can either be carried out using real-life equipment or via the use of computer software which completely replicates the equipment and scenario required.

Using this technology, learners are then able to perform the tasks they would in real life based on the different events they may experience; this way, they’re more familiar with the software they’ll be using and will be better prepared to handle the events that take place within their day-to-day role.

Advantages of simulation training

Most employees need to be proficient on a range of systems and software, as well as being competent in a variety of different situations. However, ‘learning by doing’ isn’t always possible on the real application or in the real situation; this is usually due to limited access to the system or situation, or a fear of those in training making mistakes and the possible consequences that could occur as a result.

When using simulation training, however, these main systems or scenarios are reproduced – meaning that learners are able to immerse themselves in training that is as close to the real-life example as possible, whilst also allowing them the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment.

This act of being able to make mistakes provides a unique opportunity for learners to follow a process or scenario through until the end, even if it’s incorrect. In fact, being able to fail offers a unique learning experience, enabling individuals to learn from mistakes and apply this knowledge even before they carry it out in real life.

Having this training available in a digital format also enables learners to practise as and when they need to, aiding learners to become familiar and confident with different systems and scenarios – providing a flexible alternative to traditional training methods.

Using simulation training in healthcare

Healthcare providers

Although real-life, hands-on experience with real patients cannot (and should not) be replaced, simulation training enables healthcare professionals to learn in a safe environment, free from the threat of potentially life or death mistakes.

In fact, teaching through simulation could offer healthcare professionals training they may otherwise not have access to, for instance, complex procedures or diseases which they may only come across in the real world in very rare instances. Being able to engage with simulations and practise for these rare instances means they’ll be more prepared when one does present itself in real life.

As mentioned, this form of digital training enables individuals to make mistakes without any dangerous consequences. In healthcare this is particularly vital, as any mistake with a real patient could have a life or death outcome. Using simulated training, healthcare professionals can make mistakes and receive instant feedback on why something went wrong, allowing them to learn from their mistakes and put their knowledge into practice straight away.

Due to the availability and breadth of digital learning, healthcare professionals are able to carry out relevant training at times and locations convenient to them, with the opportunity to repeat training as often as needed. If the training is also linked to a learning management system (LMS), their knowledge can also be tested, measured and used as a mode of certification.

Healthcare software providers

As well as simulations based on patient care, software-based simulations can also be created in order to help healthcare professionals understand how to use the relevant systems within their day-to-day role. This type of training can help to support quick adoption of new or existing software systems, improving the time to proficiency within time-critical settings.

Because the training mirrors the systems that healthcare professionals will be required to use in the real world, they’re able to explore the features and functionality in a safe environment, where they can make mistakes without any repercussions. This way, individuals are able to learn from their mistakes and reduce the amount of errors made when working with patient data in real-life.

How can Virtual College help?

Virtual College have been working in collaboration with Day One to provide realistic simulation training. Whether you have electronic patient records (EPRs), electronic health records (EHRs), back office systems or something else entirely, they can all be replicated and interlinked, if required, to show the full process of use.

Any system can be replicated and any scenario can be built as a guided, non-guided or tested simulation, so healthcare professionals can work through real-life situations in a non-live environment – effectively mirroring what they’ll experience in the real world.

The Dynamic Data™ engine is then embedded behind the simulation to populate it with over three million fictional patient records and medical scenarios that are realistic regarding dates, processes and outcomes. This way, healthcare professionals never get the same training scenario twice and are able to improve their ability to think on their feet.

As a result of the partnership between Virtual College and Day One, our simulation training provides organisations with the ability to:

  • Reduce the time it takes for learners to reach competency.
  • Increase efficiency when dealing with clients on system services.
  • Decrease the number of errors made by frontline staff.

For more information on how Virtual College can help you create simulation training for your healthcare setting, contact We’d love to hear from you.