Don’t Forget the Humanity

Simulation-based education and training are truly awesome. Think about it…

As an educator, you get the opportunity to share in real-time student success. If the individual or team went through the scenario and performed great, let them know! What a great feeling it is to have students know that they did a wonderful job.

In healthcare education, there’s the technology aspect and the “cool” factor of using patient simulators and other products. There’s an element of special effects including the use of fluids in whatever situation that your scenario calls for. And don’t forget, the controlled chaos and noise that happens in a simulation lab setting. For Emergency Medical Services and critical care scenarios, the more simulated blood and guts, the “cooler” the experience.

While exciting, the simulation experience can also be a very humbling experience for learners. Perhaps they feel let down or had a not-so-great performance. Maybe the person is dealing with some issues that you aren’t aware of.

In training people how to heal, treat and manage complex medical issues, we can sometimes become lost in our own expectations. In healthcare education, there are many procedures, treatment protocols, drug titrations, and so on that professionals experience and need to learn. In my previous post where “everything is easier when you know it”, I can understand how it’s possible that we sometimes can forget what it was like to start out. Simulation-based experiences are a massive synthesis application where the learner takes the real-time information and performs intervention X, Y, Z, or all three and it can be a demanding situation for some people.

In simulation, we learn about new technologies, new patient simulators, virtual reality and all of the new features that teaching with technology offers. However, it’s important to never forget the humanity. Never forget about the learner. A successful experience includes a debriefing phase where the learners and educators can process what happened and why. The post-experience debrief is a vital part of the process to understand the context of where people are coming from, why they acted or performed in a certain way. The debrief provides an excellent opportunity to offer support, provide guidance and offer solutions. Demonstrating humanity in these teachable moments can show learners that they feel listened to.

We live in a fast-paced world where X, Y, and Z need to be done and there’s never enough time. What would it look like if you took a moment this week to make someone’s day? What does that look like? What difference could you make?

Be Awesome!

Matthew

About the Author: Matthew Jubelius wants to change the future of people development, education, and training. He has championed the design, implementation, and evaluation of simulation-based education and training programs, including quality improvement measures for post-secondary institutions, private industry, and the federal government. Matthew can be reached through www.amoveotraining.ca

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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,

Matthew