September 11-15 is the first annual of Simulation Week declared by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
As part of the education of health care professionals, simulation exercises, the imitation or representation of real-life scenarios, are practiced to help prepare health practitioners to handle various clinical situations. This is especially important for rare or critical events that cannot be taught on real-life patients. Simulation is a recognized mode of training that develops clinical and problem solving skills that health practitioners can effectively recall when emergent situations arise.
BC Children’s and BC Women’s Simulation program runs mock exercises regularly, one of which is called the First Five Minutes. The First Five Minutes is an interactive activity that simulates a probable scenario, where participants can act out the first several critical minutes of an emergency event. The key is to create a safe learning environment that promotes team work, where participants do not feel judged and feel comfortable to make mistakes.
“This [simulation] is a non-intimidating way to gain experience and comfort when code type situations happen,” says Liane Warner, registered nurse, BC Children’s Hospital. “The small group setting of the First Five Minutes allows for teambuilding with colleagues and for us to feel more accustomed with one another and react in a calm and efficient manner when a code is called.”
As the scenario unfolds, the Simulation team observes the participants and provides feedback to prompt or correct actions. The course of the event is fluid: allowing a stop, pause and rewind approach that helps participants learn as they go through the steps that need to be taken to save a life.
The First Five Minutes launched in March 2017 and has run 42 times with 172 learners participating. The success of the program can be seen immediately, as participants’ comfort and confidence levels are evident by the end of the activity. The second time they practice the mock scenario, there is less hesitation and the team is more prepared reducing the amount of time it took them to complete the first major steps before the code team arrives. Participants complete a written evaluation following the simulation and report they are more confident and prepared after having participated.