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WVSOM faculty demonstrate the importance of communication during Sim War

Two faculty teams at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) competed in a “Simulation (Sim) War” to show students the importance of communication in a clinical setting.

The event was part of the school’s second annual recognition of the national Healthcare Simulation Week, sponsored by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Simulation is the creation of realistic circumstances in order to teach skills and enhance competencies among health care professionals.

The two faculty teams, which consisted of clinicians, Ph.D.s and graduate teaching assistants, utilized the human-patient simulators to addresses critical skills, decision-making and communication during the exercise. Each team had only 10 minutes to try to complete the medical scenario.

“While the time went by extremely fast, our team was doing an excellent job with communicating what they were seeing and worked well together,” said Jacob Neumann, Ph.D., an assistant professor in WVSOM’s biomedical sciences department. “This experience really helps to put a perspective on how instrumental the leader is to the outcome of the patient. Having a great team leader allowed me to focus on the task I was given and know what to do when that assignment was complete.”

Biomedical faculty like Neumann never have clinical interactions in real-life scenarios, but during this simulation exercise it was more about communication among any health care professional.

“Being a biomedical faculty member, I am focused on my area of expertise and have a limited experience in the clinical realm. Being part of the simulation competition allowed for me to step outside my expertise and perform some tasks that our students will be potentially experiencing during their medical careers,” he said of the unique opportunity.

During the Sim War, Neumann was mostly responsible for packing the leg wound and stopping the human-patient simulator from bleeding.

Adam Goodcoff, a third-year student and graduate teaching assistant, said he thought the experience was rewarding, especially since he is interested in an emergency medicine residency. The fast-paced, trauma scenario will be similar to ones he could encounter as a future physician.

Goodcoff said he thinks that demonstrating the closed-loop communication to students in attendance will be helpful when it comes time for them to practice what they have learned on the human-patient simulators. Closed-loop communication is a technique used to avoid misunderstanding and often includes repeating information and confirming the actions a person is taking.

“With the right training and a strong team around you, you can help a patient in these types of scenarios,” he said. “With our situation, everybody was there to help each other. They’re not doing things by themselves.”

One piece of educational advice given to Goodcoff’s team by the judges was to provide positive reassurance to the patient, even if the health team is busy or the patient may not seem to hear.

“It’s such a sensory overload, but it’s definitely good practice to constantly speak to the patient. It was a good piece of feedback from the judges,” he said.

Elizabeth Ziner, D.O., WVSOM’s Clinical Evaluation Center medical director, said one of the goals of hosting the Faculty Sim War was to show students that simulation can be an educational and entertaining opportunity.

“It is our hope that students will want to participate in the Student Sim War. They will learn invaluable skills in regards to patient treatment and they will learn how to function seamlessly as a medical team,” she said.

In January, first- and second-year medical students will compete in their own Sim War. They will battle for bragging rights and a trophy to be displayed in the student winner’s classroom.

Other activities that took place during Healthcare Simulation Week at WVSOM were a moulage demonstration where participants received fake cuts, wounds and scrapes, and an ice cream sundae bar.

Date Added: 
Monday, October 15, 2018