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Table 4 Advantages and disadvantages of traditional didactic learning compared with simulated clinic learning identified by the medical students

From: Whole consultation simulation in undergraduate surgical education: a breast clinic case study

Traditional Didactic Learning Simulated clinic learning
Theme Code Example Excerpt(s) Theme Code Example Excerpt(s)
Acquisition of core medical knowledge Covering the medical curriculum
Acquisition of medical knowledge
Learning facts
Ex. 13: “The history taking part [of the simulated clinic session] was amazing, like I personally thought that the history taking part was so useful, but actually knowing specifically about the disease and all the different investigations and symptoms and everything that can come with it can only really be well taught in a classroom environment.”
Ex. 46: “Learning presentations and risk factors and baseline knowledge is better in a classroom.”
Ex. 47: “In terms of learning things like risk factors I think the first session where there are slides is more useful as we get to see stuff.”
Passing examinations Passing non-written exams Ex. 19: “The simulated sessions are useful for both competencies as a doctor as well as practical things like passing our OSCE.”
Passing examinations Passing written exams Ex. 20: “If all our teaching was done in a simulated environment then I don’t think we’d feel as prepared to pass our exams.” Being a competent doctor Practical skills Ex. 3: “The breast clinic session is useful because we need to know the practical elements.”
Communication & professionalism Ex. 5: “A lot of it is skills based like being able to speak to your patient properly and then understand what they’re saying.”
Application of clinical knowledge Ex. 10: “In textbooks [...] they’ll have like a billion investigations, so you don’t necessarily know which one is the one that you’ll use first in the hospital. Whereas by doing simulated clinics you’ll see [...] this is the first line, this is what you progress to because its got better specificity.”
Ex. 12: “Learning things like differentials, you probably get more of that in the tutorial but recognising them is an entirely different scenario.”
Active learning techniques Maintaining active interest during teaching exercise Ex. 22: “In a big group you’re less likely to put your hand up to answer a question.”
Ex. 23: “It’s good to be put on the spot as well, because I think just a tutorial is quite passive and so you could be like ‘I could do that, I can do all these things’ but then when you actually go to do it in a simulated environment you’re like ‘oh wait hang on a minute.’”
Learning through simulation Simulation of real-life scenario Ex. 30: “I think the simulated clinic, it’s pretty much what they do in the breast clinic, so its like very much what we’ll have to do as a doctor, so I feel like in terms of that respect, this is more useful than a normal tutorial.”
Working on weaknesses Ex. 40: “I feel like they are making us do the stuff, like it identifies what we actually do know and what we’ve retained and what we don’t.”
Feedback-led session Ex. 37: “I think because we’re in small groups in this session it makes it easier to get quick feedback compared to in a larger tutorial.”