Using Simulators to Teach Patients – Nemours Children’s Hospital Leads the Way

using simulators to train patients

Parents dealing with new clinical care of their child requires a relaxed and safe learning environment. Nemour Children’s Hospital is brilliantly utilizing the power of simulation to safely train parents on clinical procedures for such child care. Using manikins provides stressed out parents with a calm way to practice new skills without the worry of hurting their child. Genius!

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“The Nemours Center for Clinical Excellence uses high and low fidelity models to teach a parent how to care for her daughter’s tracheotomy. They also use the medical simulation tools to train school nurses on how to be prepared to care for students in public schools in Central Florida.”

Learn more about the Nemours Center for Clinical Excellence!

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7th Annual International Pediatric Simulation Symposia & Workshop Opens in Vancouver

pediatric simulation conference

This morning in beautiful Vancouver, Canada over 250 global attendees participated in the opening ceremonies of the 7th annual IPSSW, which focuses on Pediatric Simulation in Healthcare. The International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS) has been established to promote and support multi-disciplinary simulation-based education, training and research in all subspecialties that care for infants and children . The Society organizes an annual meeting that brings together leaders in the field of pediatric simulation with educators, researchers and patient safety experts. The meeting – IPSSW – provides an opportunity to expand horizons, cross-fertilize ideas and promote excellence in education and investigative research. In 2013, provided a comprehensive two-part video breakdown of that year’s event with interviews of key leadership and participants.

About IPSSW 2015

“IPSSW2015 – Reaching Out to the Future” recognizes and encompasses a number of developments in the continued evolution of pediatric simulation. Firstly, the continued expansion of simulation across the globe including to resource-poor contexts and the formation of international collaboratives has us “reaching-out” as a community. Secondly, Outreach simulation, where the centre-based silos are broken down and simulation is delivered in community-based settings, is another manifestation of our simulation enthusiasts reaching-out. Finally pediatric simulation is at the forefront of the trail being blazed into the future in terms of a paradigm shift in education and high-stakes assessment.

President’s Address

Dr. Stephanie Sudikoff, the new President of the IPSS organization, announced the major updates regarding the community:

  • Reincorporated in Switzerland
  • Bylaws were reviewed and updated as part of the new application
  • IPSS was awarded Excellence in Simulation Award from SESAM Middle Eastern and Northern African Conference.
  • These projects continues to grow: Malawi Simulation Training Support, ECMO Curriculum Development, Fellowships in Simulation – Training the Future Leaders of our Field

In closing Stephanie asked the community “Who can we be together?” in 2015 and requested to hear from each of the organizations’s 210 members.

Keynote Speaker 

Dr. Geoff Norman, Ph.D. from McMaster University, spoke about “Cost-effective use of simulation in designing an evidence – based clinical curriculum”. Dr. Norman attempted to demonstrate how we use simulation to achieve our goals — but do we do it the most effectively and affordably? He defined some assumptions:

1) Performance on the simulation is related to performance in the real world. He agreed that this has been proven correct.

2) The more authentic the simulation the stronger the learning outcomes. Basically, does greater fidelity mean greater learning?

Dr. Norman pointed to four main points for simulator functionality

  • Authenticity – the extent to which the simulation appears to resemble reality (face validity)
  • Sensorimotor fidelity – the extent to which the critical elements of the simulation accurately reproduce the real task
  • Psychoaffective fidelity – the degree to which the task is perceived to be similar to the real task
  • Environmental / contextual fidelity – the degree to which the environment (room instruments) is realistic.

Dr. Norman shared a number of research articles which demonstrated a mis-connection between simulated learning features and dramatic outcome results. While he showed some examples of research where medical simulators only mildly improved outcomes, his theory completely failed to look at the aviation simulation industry. Medical simulation is relatively new field where the technology adoption is still emerging with NO regulated requirements. Contrast that with aviation which has existed for over a hundred years, and is now a regulated requirement by governments around the world. Widespread adoption over a longer period of time has evolved the simulators into better and better replications of real world environments. I am sure if we did research to examine learning on a 747 simulator from 1968, and a 747 simulator from 2015, that the learning outcomes would be improved. Not mentioning the dramatic changes from the original 747 cockpit to today’s models — but the level of fidelity itself better mimics the reality of flying today.

Dr. Norman closed with points that encouraged the audience to created interleaved (mixed) practice where diagnosis for the correct tool provides better long term outcomes. This means not teaching to memorize the tools to perfection, but teaching to understand which tools to use in different scenarios.

About Dr. Norman

Geoff Norman, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University. He received a B.Sc. in physics form the University of Manitoba in 1965 and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from McMaster University in 1971, and subsequently a M.A. in educational psychology from Michigan State University in 1977. He is the author of 10 books in education, measurement and statistics, and over 200 journal articles. He has won numerous awards, including the Hubbard Award from the National Board of Medical Examiners. The Outstanding Achievement Award of the Medical Council of Canada, the Distinguished Scholar Award of the American Educational Research Association, and the Karolinska Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Medical Education . He presently holds a Canada Research Chair. He was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2007. He received an honorary doctorate from Erasmus University, Rotterdam in 2010.

Learn more at the IPSSW 2015 homepage and the @IPSS twitter account!

Sidra Medical and Research Center To Orient Using Medical Simulation

medical simulation qatar

At IMSH 2014 HealthySim had the opportunity to interview Joanne Davies, Director of Simulation at Sidra Medical and Research Center which is located in Doha, Qatar. Sidra Medical and Research Center is an ultramodern, all-digital academic medical center which will set new standards in patient care for women and children in Qatar, the Gulf region and internationally. It encompasses three essential missions: World-Class Patient Care, Medical Education and Biomedical Research. Joanne and I talked about how Sidra will use medical simulation to orient new staff, equipment and systems before opening in 2015, living and working in Qatar and the exciting career opportunities just becoming available:

Over 5000 new hospital staff from around the world will be coming to Sidra and will all go through the Hospital’s healthcare simulation program, so that they can better learn how to work together in the new building. This will also provide administrators a great bird’s eye view of work flow and system bugs before opening the center to patients.  Sidra’s Medical Simulation team is passionate about supporting the development of this innovative field, as demonstrated by their connection to the IPSS Malawi project. Joanne shared a great fondness for Qatar and the immense support of the country’s leadership for healthcare, education and economy. There is a lot of opportunity here for Simulation Champions, especially technicians, who are open to the idea of working abroad in the middle east.

qatar medical simulation

Sidra is Hiring:

Sidra is seeking highly qualified and dedicated individuals worldwide who want to make a lasting contribution to health care and the scientific community. You can see the simulation specific positions they are hiring for in our medical simulation jobs section!

From doctors, nurses and researchers to information management experts, Sidra will be an elite community of innovators working together in an environment that is collaborative, inclusive and open. Working at Sidra will mean working alongside colleagues of the highest caliber in a paper-lite environment that has been designed to enable healthcare professionals to spend less time on administration and more time caring for patients, participating in research and developing new skills.

About Qatar:

Qatar is one of the most rapidly changing and exciting countries in the world. Located in the heart of the Arabian Gulf, the country is a melting pot of old and new. Here are some key statistics about the country as of April 2014:

  • The population of Qatar is approximately 1.7 million people, the majority of which are expatriates. Approximately 300,000 of the population are Qatari nationals.
  • Topping the Forbes list of the World’s richest countries, Qatar has the world’s highest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of its oil and natural gas revenues.
  • Qatar has one of the highest standards of living and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
  • Qatar is one of the safest countries in the world and is ranked 19th out of 153 countries in the Global Peace Index. Incidents of violence are rare in Qatar and crime rates are generally low.
  • While the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken and understood. One can easily live in Qatar speaking only English.
  • Autumn and spring in Qatar are warm with maximum temperatures between 25 – 35°C, and the summer (June to September) is hot with temperatures reaching 40°C and above. Winter is cooler (15 – 20°C) with occasional rainfall.
  • Qatar has hosted several major international sporting events and will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
  • Women in Qatar have full rights, including voting, driving and working rights.

Learn more by visiting or by emailing Joanne Davies.

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International Pediatric Simulation Symposia and Workshop Video Coverage Part 1


Last month HealthStream sponsored my attendance to the 5th Annual International Pediatric Simulation Symposia and Workshops Conference or IPSSW. This specialized simulation meeting took place in the heart of New York City on 103rd st across from Central Park at the historic New York Academy of Medicine. Watch the video and read below for Part 1 of my event coverage below.

Special thanks to HealthStream for sponsoring this video production in an effort to expand the support for pediatric and other healthcare simulation champions around the world. With the goal of accelerating the adoption of simulation in the healthcare industry, HealthStream joined forces with Laerdal Medical in June of 2010 to form a joint-partnership called SimVentures to produce products like SimManger – which enable Simulation Programs to efficiently administer their staff, learners, outcomes, labs and equipment. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my IPSSW Coverage to learn more about HealthStream and SimManager.

healthstream simulation

At IPSSW 2013 Over 450 pediatric simulation champions from more than 32 countries joined together for the sold-out three day event. The meeting had a very multidisciplinary feel with over 40% of the participants suggesting a nursing or allied health background. This was the first year IPSSW has taken place in the USA having previously operated around Europe.

After the recent horrific Boston bombings the trauma-based pediatric simulation demonstration rang close to home. The interdiscplinary scenario brought together professionals from a multitude of countries to quickly point out that this was indeed an internationally represented meeting.

breazeal ipssw

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT and director of the media lab’s personal robots department provided an insightful keynote on the social robots in pediatric healthcare.  Cynthia reminded us that 85% of chronic diseases can be affected by behavior, and then demonstrated how robots can play an important role for influencing humans in social engagements. With a research project addressing weight management, Cynthia and her team created a study to learn if robots could hold the attention of those on a diet longer than normal computer screens or pen and paper. Not surprisingly, the energetic feedback, dynamic communication, and positive politeness of the robot provided for much longer participant engagements. People even began to name their robots and dress them up! Cynthia believes that such studies showcase the opportunity for robots to become ‘social lubricants’ providing nonjudgmental and supportive feedback to therapeutic human interventions. You can watch Cynthia’s TED talk here, and explore her book on designing personal robots here.

This Keynote address was the first of several sessions presented by speakers with backgrounds outside of healthcare. It was entirely refreshing to attend a simulation conference with experts from other fields helping to broaden our communities understanding of the current and future educational opportunities.

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