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Simulation in paediatric training
  1. Linda Clerihew1,
  2. David Rowney2,
  3. Jean Ker3,4
  1. 1Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK
  2. 2Scottish Centre for Simulation and Clinical Human Factors, Larbert, UK
  3. 3National Lead for Clinical Skills and Simulation, Clinical Skills Managed Education Network, NHS Education for Scotland, Dundee, UK
  4. 4College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, Academic Business Development Hub, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jean Ker, College of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, Academic Business Development Hub, University of Dundee, Level 10, Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK; j.s.ker{at}

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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habitAristotle


This quote from the Greek philosopher Aristotle from over 2000 years ago is still relevant today in the context of paediatric medical education. Simulation is a tool that can reinforce standards of clinical practice as ‘habit’ contributing to trainee's development as paediatricians.

This review shares some of the issues related to learning in the paediatric service environment and demonstrates how simulation can add benefit and value to both the educational process and clinical service. We have structured the article around a series of questions, which will be of relevance to all those using simulation for paediatric training.

What is simulation?

It is important to have a shared mental model of what we mean by simulation, David Gaba1 describes it as ‘a technique, not a technology to replace or amplify real experiences with guided experiences that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive manner’.

It provides a safe context where confidence as well as competence can be continuously enhanced with excellence as the goal for patient care.2 ,3

The term simulation can be used to describe simulated patients; either manikin or actors, or simulated scenarios in either a simulated environment, for example, simulation centre, or simulated situation in the clinical environment known as in situ simulation.

The recognition of the importance of simulation in clinical education originated from its impact in other high-reliability organisations, such as aviation, the military and the oil industry.4 Our increased understanding of systems thinking and ensuring the provision of consistent high quality care in different healthcare settings has highlighted how simulation can be used for many purposes5 including enhancing the design of new delivery systems.

Why are we using simulation for paediatric training?

There are several drivers for using simulation in …

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