The optometry programme requires the students to complete two semesters of clinical training in the Singapore Polytechnic Optometry Centre (SPOC), as part of their practical for four modules. During these sessions, the students see patients, usually members of the public that require eye care services, under the supervision of their lecturers. However, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, home-based learning was implemented and SPOC operations were suspended from April till Jan 2021. The Online Simulation Clinic (OSC) programme was developed, aimed to provide similar training through role-playing of case studies delivered over video conferencing platforms. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of OSC with the traditional clinical training in SPOC.
A total of 54 3rd year optometry students participated in this study. The effectiveness of OSC was assessed through an online questionnaire and through the students’ performance in the competency test conducted at the end of the semester.
The students rated 4.02 out of 5 for their overall experience with OSC. The mean score for both history taking skills and patient management skills significantly improved after the implementation of the OSC by 11.1% (p<0.001) and 9.3% (p<0.001) respectively.
OSC was found to be effective and can be incorporated into the existing clinical training programme, which supports hands-on clinical skills training to supplement communication and problem-solving skills.