Simulation – Preventing Medical Errors
As technology evolves, so does the pursuit for new techniques to train health care providers more efficiently and to ultimately prevent medical errors. Simulation has met this goal and in fact, simulation is now becoming the standard for education of health care providers. In high stakes areas such as obstetrics (OB), neurosurgery and even trauma services, the use of simulation has become priceless.
Last semester, I had the opportunity to be a simulation facilitator for our 2nd year medical/surgical nursing students. In the simulation I was responsible for, the “patient” had a small intracranial hemorrhage that deteriorated. During the simulation, the students are completely responsible for the care of their “patient”. The goal of the simulation is to place the students in complex situations that we normally can not produce in the clinical environment – for example, we can’t just walk about the hospital and ask patients to seizure, just so the student can have the “experience”.
Also, during a high stakes situation, this is not the ideal time for a student or new health care provider to learn. Therefore, by using the simulation environment, we are able to place the student in high stakes situation, however with no risk to any human life. If the students should fail to recognize a deterioration or give a wrong medication, although the “patient” will die, we just reset, learn from the experience and correct the action – however, no harm.