Inaugural S3 Simulation Conference: Dr Peter Dieckmann Keynote Address "Handling Variation is a Good Thing - The Learning From Success Approach to Simulation"


By SimGHOSTS Operations Manager Kirrian Steer

In his keynote presentation, Dr Dieckmann proposed a transformation of the way we use simulation today. The lecture was based on his most recent publication “Design of simulation-based medical education and advantages and disadvantages of in situ simulation versus off-site simulation” in new simulation journal Advances in Simulation.

The trend towards standardization of practices across healthcare to improve quality and safety has demonstrated a benefit but it is not possible to standardize everything and still achieve absolute success due to the inherent variation that exists in healthcare. It is necessary to teach health professionals how to adapt in complex situations so that they are able to respond to variations in patient, practitioner and organizational characteristics to optimize patient safety and clinical outcomes.


The Learning from Success approach to simulation is based on several theoretical frameworks.  It aims to identify features of successful outcomes and good performance in high-frequency or common simulation scenarios with a focus on reinforcing efficient and effective adaptation to variation. The mundane nature of common simulation scenarios can contribute to a lack of analysis and reflection on scenario events as the scenario is perceived as being unremarkable and many of the aspects of individual and team performance in the scenario are performed ‘automatically’ so are less likely to feature in the debrief discussion. Dr Dieckmann argued that by examining variations in performance of routine tasks one can learn a lot about development of expertise, variation in performance between individuals and use this to identify the components to successful practice in high-performing health professionals.


Dr Peter Dieckmann is an organizational psychologist and is currently Head of Research at the Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation (CAMES). He is past president of SESAM, is Associate Editor of journal Simulation in Healthcare and Senior Editor of the journal Advances in Simulation, and was co-chair of IMSH in 2011. Dr Dieckmann’s research interests include both research on simulation and research using simulation.