Simulation in Surgical Education

Subject MEDS90015 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 8 hours (intensive delivery)
Total Time Commitment:

Students should expect to undertake a minimum of 120 hours research, reading, writing and general study to complete this subject successfully

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


University of Melbourne Commercial
The University of Melbourne
Level 3, 442 Auburn Road
Hawthorn, Vic 3122 Australia


Subject Overview:

Simulation as an educational method is of growing importance in surgical education. Several drivers contribute to this growth including the patient safety movement, safe working hours and technology developments of simulators.

In the United Kingdom, the Chief Medical Officer has identified simulation as one of the top five challenges for the health services and education in this decade. The last twenty years has seen an exponential growth on scholarly work on surgical simulation with specialised journals competing with clinical practice journals for impact factor.

In the United States, it is now mandatory for surgeons to be credentialed in simulation for specific surgical procedures prior to performing the procedures on real patients. It is likely this trend will expand to more procedures and across national boundaries.

The Australian Government is also planning substantial investment in simulation-based education for medicine, nursing and allied health professionals. This subject will contribute to students’ understanding of social, political, economic and educational aspects of simulation.

This subject explores the scope of simulation as an educational method for surgical practice. It goes beyond the role of simulators for the development of psychomotor skills to include blended simulation modalities and the role of simulated patients. Additionally, the validation of simulators will be explored considering industry standards.

The overall aims of the subject are:

  • To explore the role of simulation as an educational method for surgical training
  • To identify benefits and challenges of simulation in surgical training

After completing the subject participants will be able to:

  1. Discuss the rationale for simulation-based education in surgery
  2. Discuss the educational theory relevant to simulation-based education
  3. Outline essentials for effective simulation-based education
  4. Describe and appraise simulator technologies to support surgical training e.g. ASSET
  5. Describe the capability of simulation to develop the complex sets of skills required for safe surgical practice
  6. Outline the role of simulated patients in surgical education
  • Experiential activity (Hurdle assessment on the study day). In this assessment, students are expected to conduct a teaching session using simulation. Students must work at a high level extending skills learned in core and subsequent subjects.
  • Presentation (online tutorial) - 15 minutes (mid-semester) 20% In this assessment, students are expected to critically appraise a surgical simulator using validated criteria. Each student will appraise a different simulator drawing on the literature for evidence.
  • Essay (Written reflection on experiential activity) - 1000 words (mid semester) 20% In this assessment, students reflect on their simulation-based experience of teaching and/or learning from the study day. They are expected to integrate educational theory in support of their experience and to identify best practice.
  • Essay - 3000 words (end of semester) 60% In this assessment, students have a choice of essay topics exploring contemporary issues in SBE, future directions of SBE relevant for surgical education, the role of simulators in high stakes assessment, the relationship of simulator generated feedback and learning. Each topic draws on and extends knowledge from earlier subjects.
Prescribed Texts:

Reading materials online

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Integration of complex simulation strategies into cohesive educational strategies
  • Understanding of educational models and strategies for integrating and assessing simulator-assisted teaching
  • Study skills related to a range of educational methods
  • Presentation skills
  • Academic reading skills
  • Academic writing
  • Applying theory to practice
  • Reference manager skills
  • Work effectively within a small group
  • Learn independently
Links to further information:

IT requirements:

Participants will require access to the internet with a minimum connection speed of 256Kbps to access course materials and to participate in on-line discussions and presentations forums. Faster connection speeds are preferred. Participants will also need to verify that their internet connection is configured to allow them to view streamed audio and video files. Test files will be made available for students to test their connections.

Participants are expected to have a headset and microphone connected to their computer for participation in on-line activities.

Participants will be expected to have access to the following Microsoft Office products to fully participate:

  • MS Word
  • MS Powerpoint

All online applications will be web-based and no special software is required.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Surgical Education
Master of Surgical Education

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