Aim: To assess the impact of a simulation workshop prior to starting clinical work, on the practical and examination skills of first-year postgraduate house surgeons (PGY1s) starting at Hutt Hospital (Lower Hutt, New Zealand) and to compare this to 6 months of clinical ward experience alone.
Methods: Self-reporting questionnaires on clinical examination, and procedural skills were used to compare a 'control' group of 10 PGY1s who had 6 months on-the-ward training only, to a second 'intervention' group of 10 PGY1s who underwent training in a simulation skills workshop prior to starting clinical work.
Results: The small numbers of PGY1s limit generalisation of the findings, however certain trends are evident. The skills workshop improved self-rated competence scores in clinical procedural skills, and was significant for lumbar punctures (LP) and spirometry. Scores were comparable to those of 6 months of clinical exposure alone. Self-reported confidence scores in picking up abnormalities of clinical examination improved in all areas taught and were significant for fundal, prostate, and rectal abnormalities. Scores exceeded those achieved with 6 months of clinical exposure.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that a skills workshop prior to starting clinical work may approximate 6 months of clinical experience and improve baseline procedural and examination skills.