Risking Safety to “Stretch the Budget”

Academic budgets. Man, they can be tough. It’s such a challenging and balancing act of maximizing your department finances and let’s face it; simulations can be expensive. There are a lot of consumables that SIM centres go through and I completely respect the practice of reusing items when necessary to be financially responsible. In the reality of trying to maximize budget spending and well-intended actions, sometimes there can be risks to safety.

Risk: Expired Medications

When someone wants to donate expired supplies such as medications, it’s awesome that someone is thinking of your simulation program. Before adding these to your consumables inventory, you need to consider if there is a risk to staff or learner safety. An example is a donation from a hospital including a bag expired paralytic agents. In a busy academic SIM centre (or any facility), things can “disappear” or “walk off” which is a chilling thought and can cause catastrophic effects. Do yourself, your colleagues, staff and students a favor – Please, never keep or use live medications in a simulated learning environment. There are plenty of ways to mitigate this risk including the safe disposal of expired medications. You can purchase placebo or simulated medications from different vendors and refill used vials/bags with sterile water and reuse when appropriate. Don’t let a well-intended donation be the reason someone could get hurt.

Risk: Unsafe DIY Attempts

Let’s talk about simulated wounds. I’ll be straightforward, there are many DIY attempts floating on the internet and people can be easily swayed by the words “free and cheap”! Some are outright dangerous. I saw several videos out there on how to create a wearable wound from construction caulking because “it’s cheaper than buying from a vendor and I have a tight budget”. WOW! This is bad news and still makes me shudder! Do not ever use caulking on your skin, it’s not safe and can cause health problems down the road. If you’re in a situation where using toxic chemicals on people to save a few bucks sounds like a viable option, please stop and reflect on this. Then, have a frank discussion with your administrator on why you need proper materials. Don’t shortcut safety.

Full disclosure, seeing these unsafe DIY attempts is one of the reasons why Amoveo Training created a realistic, reusable, high quality, skin-safe and durable product line at an affordable price. The other reason is our clients asked us. Shameless plug alert, you can see our products at http://www.amoveotraining.ca

I’m all for efficiency and helping maximize budgets, but please do not do it at the risk of potentially harming learners or other team members. Simulation is about safety. Sit down with your purchasing committees, teams and ask questions about what types of products that you will have in your SIM centres. It may mean that you have to plan and develop a policy on items such as receiving certain donations, but it is necessary to perform due diligence.

Be Safe,


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