At Torrance Memorial Medical Center, there is a special place you would likely never see as a patient, but it is absolutely helping save lives. The Clinical Simulation Skills Lab, run by John Edwards, provides education through simulation of actual patient scenarios with the use of highly intelligent dummies (neonatal to adults) to enhance the clinical skills of the staff.
The lab is divided into patient care areas using two high-fidelity patient simulators, which contain electronic guidance and response systems to recreate actual patient situations by simulating physical and physiological signs and symptoms. NASA has used the same simulation technique for those training in a new area of specialty.
“The lab provides training that is interactive, hands-on and effective through the use of human simulators, which enhances learning objectives and practices for all health care disciplines. Providing care to simulators provides a safe, less stressful and more meaningful learning environment in ensuring higher quality and safe patient care,” explains Edwards.
The lab simulator has multiple disciplinary training modalities, and it is used several times a week for basic life support skills checks and simulation for monthly neonatal resuscitation skills testing. Nursing and respiratory therapy students rotate through the lab monthly. Additionally, patient simulators are used in mock code drills in actual patient areas.
The use of basic manikins and low-fidelity simulators has been in existence for a number of years; however, the first high-fidelity simulator was a welcome addition in 2006. The lab is available to students, new graduates, new hires and current staff Monday through Friday.
“The Clinical Education department envisioned the growth of education through technology and was able to acquire space, materials, the first simulator and training of a specialized simulation technician to care for the equipment in the lab,” explains Edwards. The simulation equipment was purchased through a generous grant from the Delpit family in support of the training center.
To measure the lab’s effectiveness, clinical staff and students complete evaluations. Student evaluations consistently mention appreciation for practicing skills in a “non-threatening” environment. Results of the evaluations from the mock code blue drills demonstrate that the clinical staff values the simulations that prepare them for real-life scenarios.
Trained observers during these drills have documented the benefit of improved collaboration between disciplines during the codes. Pharmacy, respiratory, medicine and nursing departments, to name a few, continue to work together to improve practices, processes and quality of care.
“We look forward to more exciting challenges with simulation. We are taking it to new levels since not only do we have the simulation lab, but we also have a simulator that is able to be mobile and can be utilized outside of the lab,” says Edwards. “The ‘new lab’ is making its way to the hospital and to the bedside.”