Updates from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
One of the gems at Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) over the years has been its use of clinical simulation to improve the expertise of the clinical team. Simulations are used to assess competence in clinical skills and care processes. The term clinical simulation is broadly defined as the use of tools, devices, and/or other equipment to mimic a particular aspect of clinical care.
The hospital has always had low-fidelity simulators such as IV arms, CPR chests, wound, and PICC (peripheral inserted central catheter) simulators. Low-fidelity simulations can be paper or computer-based. An IV arm simulator, for example, helps clinicians practice blood draws and intravenous therapy insertion. For those that have gone through CPR training utilizing a mannequin, you’ve experienced a form of low-fidelity simulation.
In partnership with Sierra College in 2006, simulators and accessories were purchased as part of a workforce enrichment pilot grant that funded three locations in California. SNMH was the only one in the region to have such capabilities at that time. While relatively small in comparison with simulation labs at large health care facilities or universities, the SNMH equipment includes baby and adult mannequins designed to mimic medical scenarios including birth, trauma, heart attack, drug overdose and more.
Susie Petrillo, director of Educational Services at SNMH developed the simulation lab when the original simulators arrived.
“Over the years the simulators have provided unique opportunities to replicate real-world healthcare scenarios in an environment which is safe for education and practice purposes,” she said. “They have been amazing tools that enhance clinical expertise. We welcomed the chance to partner with Sierra College. Initially, we provided simulation experiences for both students and hospital professionals, but the Rocklin campus eventually acquired simulators and now train their students.”
Simulation training helps decrease patient risk by creating practice situations for complex high-risk or low frequency emergencies or procedures. Simulated encounters incorporate all of the intricate details that would be present in the assessment and treatment of actual patients. Each training is guided by clinical instructors from the Educational Services and Women and Infant Care departments utilizing hands-on learning done in real time, with the same equipment and devices used in the hospital environment. Away from the high-risk environment of actual patient care, this “no-risk” training increases proficiency and builds confidence.
Team communication during emergencies is practiced during simulations along with the clinical scenario such as: Malignant Hyperthermia Treatment (MH). MH is a rare, but potentially lethal reaction to anesthetics. Code Blue response, emergency C-section, maternal hemorrhage, and newborn resuscitation are other areas of practice. Simulation complements many educational and training resources offered to ensure physicians, nurses, and other clinicians have the tools to maintain and build their skills to the highest level of care possible at SNMH.
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