Improving Patient- and Family-Centered Communication in Pediatrics: A Review of Simulation-Based Learning

Pediatric Annals (01/18/21) Vol. 50, No. 1, P. e32 Peterson, Eleanor; Morgan, Rebecca; Calhoun, Aaron

A narrative review of available literature on simulation-based learning for communication skills (SBL-CS) in pediatrics considered methods, theories and frameworks on which such learning is developed, in order to improve patient- and family-centered care (PFCC). The authors sought articles in PubMed, CINAHL and Google Scholar focusing on the conceptual considerations of learning theory, education frameworks and debriefing methodology, with methods, context, format and curricular outcome measures also defined. SBL-CS interventions were mainly designed for nursing or medicine, with several examples using interprofessional healthcare professional teams that included physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, respiratory therapists and occupational and physical therapists. Role play and standardized portrayals were applied to implement simulation in communication skills training. SBL-CS assumed many forms, often concentrating on a specific situational context in which to enhance skills. Interventions also followed diverse formats, and although data was lacking to evaluate the advantage of one format over the other, repeated exposure should improve skill retention and application. Few studies specified the learning theory on which the program was founded, or the educational framework and debriefing methodology employed. However, the authors recommend these factors be rigorously considered in the future when designing interventions. They further advise that "programs attempting to design simulation-based communication interventions that focus on PFCC should explicitly consider the learner groups involved as well as available resources, because these factors will influence the final simulation modality chosen."

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