Background: Unexpected obstetric emergencies threaten the safety of pregnant women. As emergencies are rare, they are difficult to learn. Therefore, simulation-based medical education (SBME) seems relevant. In non-systematic reviews on SBME, medical simulation has been suggested to be associated with improved learner outcomes. However, many questions on how SBME can be optimized remain unanswered. One unresolved issue is how 'in situ simulation' (ISS) versus 'off site simulation' (OSS) impact learning. ISS means simulation-based training in the actual patient care unit (in other words, the labor room and operating room). OSS means training in facilities away from the actual patient care unit, either at a simulation centre or in hospital rooms that have been set up for this purpose.
Methods and design: The objective of this randomized trial is to study the effect of ISS versus OSS on individual learning outcome, safety attitude, motivation, stress, and team performance amongst multi-professional obstetric-anesthesia teams.The trial is a single-centre randomized superiority trial including 100 participants. The inclusion criteria were health-care professionals employed at the department of obstetrics or anesthesia at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, who were working on shifts and gave written informed consent. Exclusion criteria were managers with staff responsibilities, and staff who were actively taking part in preparation of the trial. The same obstetric multi-professional training was conducted in the two simulation settings. The experimental group was exposed to training in the ISS setting, and the control group in the OSS setting. The primary outcome is the individual score on a knowledge test. Exploratory outcomes are individual scores on a safety attitudes questionnaire, a stress inventory, salivary cortisol levels, an intrinsic motivation inventory, results from a questionnaire evaluating perceptions of the simulation and suggested changes needed in the organization, a team-based score on video-assessed team performance and on selected clinical performance.
Discussion: The perspective is to provide new knowledge on contextual effects of different simulation settings.
Trial registration: ClincialTrials.gov NCT01792674.