Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Beyond HOSPEX: what is the additional training value of military hospital exercises (HOSPEX)?


Background The use of simulation in clinical environments is a frequently used adjunct to training individuals and teams. The military uses clinical simulation to train large numbers of personnel, standardise patient pathways and sustain specific skills to ensure medical personnel are prepared to deploy in their clinical roles.

Methods As part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise, 256 Field Hospital (Reserves) deployed a team of clinicians to simulate a role 2 basic field hospital. This hospital exercise (HOSPEX) involved training, and a 4-day real-time exercise with casualty simulation. A retrospective survey of all clinical personnel was conducted to analyse the utility of the exercise on their understanding of their job role, the workings of the field hospital and their confidence in deploying on operations.

Results 39 personnel were surveyed, with questions graded on a modified Likert scale. 41% had previous operational experience in their current job role. A significantly higher proportion of respondents graded their understanding of their job role, and the field hospital overall, as good or excellent having completed the exercise (p<0.01), and 90% felt more confident in fulfilling their operational role postexercise. 90% of respondents had previous experience of simulation, and 94% of these rated the military simulation as being more beneficial than civilian equivalents.

Discussion With a shift towards simulation in medical training, opportunities have arisen within HOSPEX to develop additional skills for teams and individuals. Simulation is especially important in personnel who have not had previous operational experience, who may deploy on first time operations in senior clinical and leadership roles.

Conclusion HOSPEXs are perceived as being extremely useful by clinical personnel preparing for future operational deployment. HOSPEX simulation has prepared the military for varied operations since its inception, and the paradigm has potential for extension into civilian training for high intensity medical responses.

  • education & training (see medical education & training)
  • medical education & training
  • qualitative research

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.