A team of maternal newborn health staff members works together during the seemingly routine delivery of a baby in a birthing suite. But, soon after delivery, the mother begins experiencing complications, requiring each member of the team to think and react quickly, prepping the patient for chest compressions, rescue breathing and calling a rapid response team.
Fortunately, this scenario is completely simulated – mom and baby are actually high-fidelity mannequins – and the team gains practical skills and experience in case such a critical situation arises during one of their shifts. “Our Simulation Lab, which opened for staff training purposes in May 2011, is a wonderful tool that is continuously helping to enhance patient safety so that our patients can feel secure that they are in the most capable hands,” says Melody Seitz, RN, Nurse Educator. While various hospital care teams “treat” the mannequins, she and Lisa Groff-Paris, RN, Clinical Innovation Specialist, work in the Sim Lab’s control room to manage the scenario, as well as the mannequins’ responses to the actions taken by staff.
The Sim Lab is offering these types of learning experiences to healthcare providers throughout GBMC, from nurses, techs and physicians to nursing students and internal medicine residents. Different mannequins are used and scenarios are created based on the area of healthcare each group is part of. “We are able to create targeted situations that a particular team could legitimately face during their daily work,” says Ms. Groff-Paris. “It really gives them a chance to think on their feet, improve their skills and learn from mistakes without causing harm to any patient.”
Additionally, Jennifer Norris, Advanced Practitioner Supervisor for Labor and Delivery, explains that during her group’s simulation drills, staff members are mixed so that they aren’t always practicing scenarios with the same team they work with on a regular basis. “In reality, staff should be able to handle unexpected situations regardless of who they happen to be working with at any given time,” says Ms. Norris. “This is just an extra layer of preparedness that we try to develop among our staff.”
After each drill in the Sim Lab, the team that just completed its practice session moves to a debriefing room to watch a play-by-play of their efforts. They essentially have the opportunity to go through each moment in detail to troubleshoot any problems they faced. “Watching the recording of the drill, we are able to have a thorough conversation about things that went right and those that could be improved upon,” says Ms. Seitz. “It all comes back to providing all of our patients with the safest, most effective care possible.”