Practice Makes Perfect

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In the movie Apollo 13, we watched as the astronauts went through a series of programmed flight simulations to learn proper procedures and how to deal with system failures. These drills and exercises are the reason why the team successfully returns to earth, despite overwhelming obstacles and complications.

Healthcare uses simulation in its practice as well, as today's clinicians train on high-tech mannequins. From basic procedures to rehearsals for highly com­plex operations, simulation training helps healthcare professionals perfect their craft and enhance patient safety. Medical students train on simulated patients to bridge the gap between the textbook and the patient. More and more, simulation training is used to provide hospital staff with regular hands-on experience that improves clinical outcomes. The benefits are enormous.

Varying clinical experiences: Providing healthcare workers with practical exposure to common scenarios and rare, life-threatening complications is an important part of sustained growth.

Sharpening skills: By repeating training exercises, clinicians are able to maintain tip-top skill levels.

Building teams: Using realistic, time-pressured events is an effective way to develop protocols and reinforce good commu­nication skills as teams rehearse their effectiveness.

For years, KCH has used training mannequins across several medical service areas, including our Birthing Center. After giving birth hundreds of times, our Birthing Center's mannequin will soon be retiring, thanks to generous gifts from donors like you. She will be replaced by "Lucy," or SimMom, the latest innovation in maternal simulation.

SimMom combines computer technology with anatomical accuracy to produce realistic scenarios. In doing so, it trains the delivery team to recognize the onset of birth complications, to make correct diagnosis, and to coordinate action for improved outcomes. Though obstetric emergencies are rare, our team works to prepare for any and all situations.

A debrief after a training session gives the team another view of the delivery and provides an oppor­tunity to discuss ways to improve. Because the new mannequin is more technologically advanced than the older one, the hospital is able to provide cutting-edge training that was previously available only off-site.

Lori Wilkes