The effectiveness of medical simulation in teaching medical students critical care medicine: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Matthew David Beal, John Kinnear, Caroline Rachael Anderson, Thomas David Martin, Rachel Wamboldt, Lee Hooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


We aimed to assess effectiveness of simulation for teaching medical students critical care medicine and to assess which simulation methods were most useful. We searched AMED, EMBASE, MEDLINE, ERIC, BEI, AEI, plus bibliographies andcitations, to July 2013. Randomised controlled trials comparing effectiveness ofsimulation with another educational intervention, or no teaching, for teaching medical students critical care medicine were included. Assessments for inclusion, quality and data extraction were duplicated and results synthesised using meta-analysis. 
We included 22 RCTs (n=1325). Fifteen studies comparing simulation with otherteaching found simulation to be more effective (SMD 0.84, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.24;p<0.001; I2 89%). High-fidelity simulation was more effective than low-fidelity and subgrouping supported high-fidelity simulation being more effective than other methods. Simulation improved skill acquisition (SMD 1.01, 95% CI 0.49 to 1.53) but was no better than other teaching in knowledge acquisition (SMD 0.41, 95% CI -0.09 to 0.91).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104–116
Number of pages13
JournalSimulation in Healthcare
Issue number2
Early online date5 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • medical education
  • medical students
  • medical simulation
  • meta-analysis
  • Critical Care

Cite this