Purpose of review: Simulators can be used to teach simple technical skills or used in more realistic settings to teach or assess various cognitive/affective skills. Although simulators have become widespread, their use and efficacy in these various areas have not been delineated and are still being explored. This review will discuss the present state of using medical simulation for airway-management training.
Recent findings: Airway management includes both specialized technical skills and higher-order cognitive skills and behaviors. Since no one simulator is capable of covering all the functions necessary to teach these varied skills, medical specialists will need to train on a couple of different simulators. Now widely accepted in medical education, simulator training is being mandated in certain situations at some institutions because of a belief that it alters the physician. In this article its efficacy in teaching the specific psychomotor skills of bronchoscopy were validated but its use in teaching higher cognitive skills remained inconclusive.
Summary: Simulators are here to stay. Presently their usage in teaching psychomotor skills has scientific validity in specific tasks but their efficacy for teaching higher-order cognitive skills is still evolving. Future studies will continue to delineate the usage in different areas by studying the outcome in skills training and retention.