Background

Traditionally undergraduate health professional education programs tend to focus on the discipline and technical expertise, clinical decision making and communication skills. Other non-technical skills that are required for competent practice in the clinical setting such as team work, task management, leadership, organisation and situational awareness are left to be attained through 'on the job' learning experiences. There is evidence, however, that shows the lack of competence of health professionals in non-technical skills can lead to medical errors and poor patient outcomes (Pichert et al. 1998, Little et al., 2001, Rosen et al., 2008). Studies completed in high risk industries demonstrate that adverse events can be predominantly attributed to failure of non-technical skills rather than errors in technical skills (Flin et al., 2006). Therefore it is critical, that undergraduate health professionals experience a curriculum in which discipline specific, technical and non-technical skills are equally prominent to promote the integration of knowledge, skills and behaviours into the practice of the beginning practitioner.

Non-technical skills are defined as "the cognitive, social and personal resource skills that complement technical skills and contribute to safe and efficient task performance" (Flin, O'Connor & Crichton, 2008. pp1).

The VSPR project aims to develop an awareness of the critical role NTS in healthcare for undergraduate health professional students. The resource will enable learners to apply knowledge and skills of NTS to simulated patient care situations to better prepare them for practice of NTS in the clinical setting.