The award-winning Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research (OxSTaR) team, part of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, have been pioneering the use of simulation-based education (SBE) for over 15 years. Based at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the OxSTaR Centre provides a psychologically safe learning environment for medical students and multidisciplinary healthcare professionals. Since 2008, the core team has grown from two to fourteen members and the extended team now numbers over 50 from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Working with students, industry partners and healthcare professionals, the team focus on the creation and use of innovative digital tools (such as life-like wireless manikins and virtual reality or ‘VR’) to simulate real-life clinical situations, as well as embedding simulation-based education within the practice of medical educators from early career to established clinicians and academics.
The use of VR (a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment where users interact as avatars with virtual patients, healthcare professionals and clinical environments) has allowed medical students to experience learning in relation to clinical scenarios that are, by their nature, rare or absent from their studies – for example, in paediatric teaching, where there are limited learning opportunities for students to safely experience the realities of diagnosis and treatment of acutely unwell children. In 2022, the success of the team's educational developments in VR led to the piloting of a VR station in the summative assessment of medical students at their end of year objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).