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True Simulation Stories

Below are true stories, submitted by SSH members, describing the impact of healthcare simulation exercises on their lives, the profession and their patients.

The National Autonomous University of Mexico is one of the largest universities in Latin America, and every year, its simulation center trains more than 50,000 students using more than 50 different patient health scenarios. Find out why this university believes that simulation should be part of every institution’s core competencies.

The Setup: 0227 am: A flight crew is requested for a 37-week gestational newborn cardiac arrest at the residence of a rural farming family. The flight crew arrives to an EMS crew of two, along with three First Responders, attending to an intubated newborn with active CPR for the past 25 minutes. There is no electricity in the house and no moon outdoors. The only light source is a battery-operated lantern and flashlights being held by EMS, First Responders, and the pilot of the aircraft. Conditions in the house are dirty wood floors and a blood-soaked bed from delivery of the baby.

Practice makes perfect. And for the healthcare professionals at the Carolinas Simulation Center (CSC), mobile simulation stations provided hands-on training for nursing assistants to practice frequently used skills, while also developing and refining interpersonal skills and professionalism without putting human patients at risk. Find out how the CSC achieved 100 percent agreement from simulation participants that the session will help them recognize potential problems with their patients, and why eight out of 10 nurses reported improvement of their assessment and communication skills.

Everyone is a novice at some point in their career, and at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, a simulation team decided to focus on novice RNs—those with less than 18 months of experience—to take part in a series of simulations that would help them gain experience and build confidence. Using two high-fidelity manikins, participants realized the importance of collaboration and communications and were reminded, first and foremost, that patients must always remain at the center of care.

Call them what you wish—manikins, dolls, plastic people. However you define the simulated patients that bring medical training to life, it’s the living, breathing people behind them who play such an important role in introducing simulation to hospitals and new departments, working with physicians to make sure the manikins perform as needed, and helping patients understand how much their care depends on the simulated experiences that come before their own, real procedures. Meet a seasoned nurse who, by chance, became one of simulation’s biggest champions.

We built a mobile pediatric simulation (MPS) team in 2016. Due to the mobile nature of the MPS, we move overseas to do our pediatric simulation workshops using manikins of medium fidelity (but not high fidelity). We also have SPs and a few task trainers. (A common problem with task trainers are shipping or traveling with strange equipment on the flights.) We invented and hand-made three commonly required task trainers— lumbar puncture, chest tube insertion and umbilical catheterization for newborns—using very basic materials but with high fidelity, and learners are enjoying using them.

Simulations provide critically important practice and endless opportunity for learning, but they can also provide something equally important: the ability to test out different ideas and options before selecting the one that provides the best outcome for the patient. In this simulation, a physician was considering radical and potentially dangerous facial surgery … until a 3-D model shows a much better way.

Simulation can save a patient’s life, but it can also save a grieving son mourning the loss of his father. Personal interest and complicated grief lead one son to find hope in the power of simulation...

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. It’s a philosophy that many healthcare educators want to pass along to their nursing students, and in this simulation—revolving around a living will and a devastated daughter having to let her father go—the lessons on empathy felt as important as the lessons on reading vital signs and deciding a course of action.

Quality patient care depends on communications between disciplines, and simulations provide a safe way for students to learn why it can be so important to talk about their decisions rather than just take action. At Northern Kentucky University, an Interprofessional Education Simulation gave a group of students and faculty a priceless opportunity for talking their way through the successful care of Mr. Brody.

Multi-patient incidents are chaotic enough without having to also experience for the first time the stress of handling varying degrees of injury, with a large number of colleagues, in often less-than-ideal environments. Through a simulation with local fire and EMS responders, Bellin College helped dozens of nursing students see firsthand how it could play out, as well as understand and appreciate the unique skills they’ll need to stay level-headed should they ever find themselves faced with a large-scale disaster.

A senior pediatric resident unexpectedly finds herself as the lead in a code blue, with nurses who were inexperienced with epinephrine administration. While the patient survived, the resident recognized that more practice and training was desperately needed—and with the aid of simulation models, she created and ran two training programs for hospital staff to help ensure that her sobering experience would never happen again.

Making decisions on the construction and design of a new, $438 million hospital shouldn’t be left to chance, so a team of 65 medical facility staff and students simulated situations in medical-surgery, ICU and OR mock-ups … discovering along the way what worked, what didn’t, and what they could do to ensure that the building—once completed—would work for the healthcare professionals and patients who depend on it.

Experiencing patient mortality, while working with a grieving family, is best learned during a simulation rather than in a real-life, clinical setting. Find out how these students gained bedside experience that can make a world of difference to a family in crisis.