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We sought to assess the perceptions that podiatric medical students had of the use of simulators after completing a third-year simulation rotation. This type of analysis has not been reported in the podiatric medicine educational literature. Another goal of this study was to influence the podiatric medical community to increase studies that help demonstrate the effectiveness of simulation in the podiatric medical curriculum.
Data from rotation evaluations of 44 students from the 2011-2012 academic year included student responses to 11 quantitative items and textual analysis of the students' written comments. Basic descriptive statistics of student responses to the quantitative items allowed for the analysis of central tendencies and variations. Textual analysis was performed on comments that were coded into themes based on similar properties and characteristics that the comments shared.
The analysis revealed that the simulation sessions were well liked. All of the students who responded to the survey rated the overall simulation rotation as “superior.” Textual analysis of the students' comments showed that students enjoy simulation as an educational tool because it helps enhance their clinical skills while also applying their didactic education to a practical experience. Clear evidence was presented that students want more cases and time to spend in the simulation laboratory to continue increasing their medical skills.
The student perception of simulation is that it is an effective educational tool. Further testing is needed to prove simulation efficacy in a podiatric medical curriculum.