Background: We assessed the effect of basic orientation to the simulation environment on anxiety, confidence, and clinical decision making. Methods: Twenty-four graduating medical students participated in a two-week surgery preparatory curriculum, including three simulations. Baseline anxiety was assessed pre-course. Scenarios were completed on day 2 and day 9. Prior to the first simulation, participants were randomly divided into two groups. Only one group received a pre-simulation orientation. Before the second simulation, all students received the same orientation. Learner anxiety was reported immediately preceding and following each simulation. Confidence was assessed post-simulation. Performance was evaluated by surgical faculty. Results: The oriented group experienced decreased anxiety following the first simulation (p = 0.003); the control group did not. Compared to the control group, the oriented group reported less anxiety and greater confidence and received higher performance scores following all three simulations (all p < 0.05). Conclusions: Pre-simulation orientation reduces anxiety while increasing confidence and improving performance.
- Medical education