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VOLUME 50 , ISSUE 3 ( July-September, 2016 ) > List of Articles


Can Physiotherapists be trained to work in Critical Care utilizing Clinical Simulation?

Diane Dennis, Lisa Marsh

Citation Information : Dennis D, Marsh L. Can Physiotherapists be trained to work in Critical Care utilizing Clinical Simulation?. J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2016; 50 (3):136-140.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10028-1206

Published Online: 01-12-2014

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2016; The Author(s).



The intensive care unit (ICU) is an acute area requiring significant expertise and training. This study aimed to see if a novel package of simulation training of physiotherapists in ICU physiotherapy competencies would promote confidence and be less stressful compared to traditional training. The secondary aim was to see if simulation training was less costly in terms of training time and whether additional support staff hours required.

Materials and methods

Fifteen physiotherapists participated in the study, with two trainee cohorts (traditional, n = 5; simulation, n = 5) and supervising staff (n = 5). A simulation training program was implemented over 6 half days during 2013/2014. All participants then completed follow-up questionnaires. Data were also collected relating to training costs and cost of support provided to the trainee on commencement of independent work in the ICU.


Respondents reported that simulation was extremely useful (> 4.75) and likely to reduce stress and improve confidence (> 3.8). All training components were useful (> 3.4) with simulation trainees perceiving the highest usefulness (4—4.8). Simulation training took less time per trainee (mean 3 vs 4.4 days), and less trainer time (total 9 vs 22 days). Costs incurred during 1st week of independent work were similar.


This study has demonstrated that the delivery of a novel package of simulation scenarios was successful in improving the confidence of inexperienced physiotherapists moving into the ICU setting. The mode of up-skilling was also less expensive compared to the existing training model. Simulation may be useful for other health professionals in the critical care environment.

How to cite this article

Dennis D, Marsh L. Can Physiotherapists be trained to Work in Critical Care utilizing Clinical Simulation? J Postgrad Med Edu Res 2016;50(3):136-140.

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