Background: Simulation based-education (SBE) is spreading widely among medical schools worldwide. It supports students with safe and effective learning environment, provided being integrated into the curriculum properly to enhance the transfer of skills learnt to real clinical practice. Aim: The aim was to evaluate two- time formats for introducing SBE in clinical teaching based on the outcome of clinical training and students’ perception. Methods: This cross-sectional study included (37) 4th year female students starting internal medicine (IM) clerkship. Students were divided randomly into two groups: Group (A) n = 18 had their SBE sessions at the beginning of the IM course for 1 week (first format). Group (B) n = 19 had their SBE sessions spaced over the duration of the IM course (second format). Grades of objective structured clinical exam (OSCE), mini clinical cases (MiniCex) and final block were collected. Using self-administered questionnaire, students’ perception was collected. Results: A highly significant difference between OSCE grades of students in the two groups was observed being higher with Group A (P < 0.001). Overall, the outcome of SBE has a predictive impact on MiniCex and final course grades with Group A. 67% of students agree and strongly agree about the usefulness of having SBE sessions during IM clerkship; and 58.3% of them believed that it is better to use the first format for the introduction of SBE sessions. Simulation sessions were perceived by 66.6% of the students to eases the step from the classroom to the real clinical world. Conclusion: This study attempts to highlight the importance of the integration of SBE for students starting their IM clerkship in order to provide an easier transition between simulated and clinical learning environment. If intensive SBE sessions were introduced to learners at the beginning of the clerkship, the outcome is better and has a predictive impact on MiniCex and final grades of IM clerkship. Future application of this concept in other departments needs to be evaluated with more emphasis on measuring the outcome of skills laboratory learning process.
Basic clinical skills, internal medicine, medical students, simulation sessions, skill laboratory