On Monday, Feb. 4, more than 200 Emory University medical and nursing students will undergo simulated emergency training with lifelike mannequins filling in as ER patients. The daylong event marks the first time in University history that students from both schools will collaborate on patient care and safety training.
"Many people assume that medical and nursing professionals train together as part of their education, but for many physicians and nurses, this isn't the case," says Barbara Kaplan, MSN, RN, coordinator of Emory's Charles F. and Peggy Evans Center for Caring Skills, instructor in the Emory Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and simulation training co-coordinator.
"They train independently in their respective disciplines, and their first interactions are typically in the hospital emergency room or clinic," says Kaplan.
"There are numerous benefits of health care professionals learning and training together. At Emory, we are trying to create an environment where health care professionals can learn teamwork skills before they enter the real-world patient care setting." The mannequins in the simulations labs are fitted with monitors to measure different variables. They talk back to the students and can communicate what hurts and how badly. They groan with pain like real patients. One mannequin, dubbed "Noelle" can also deliver a baby. And in worse case scenarios, the mannequins can be programmed to code, or flat-line, and students must work collaboratively to save them.
By controlling the work environment, the task and the equipment, Emory medical and nursing instructors can observe how students work as a team to provide patient care. The ultimate objective of the simulation training is to teach students how to avert often-deadly medical errors and adverse outcomes long before they begin practicing on real patients.
The participants are third-year medical and fourth-year nursing students at Emory. For many of them, this will be the first time they've ever trained with students outside their health care discipline.
"Team training should be integrated into all U.S. medical and nursing school curricula," says Douglas S. Ander, MD, director of the Emory Center for Experiential Learning, associate professor of emergency medicine in the Emory School of Medicine, and simulation training co-coordinator. "When health care teams are properly trained on how to work together, the result is better teamwork, reduced medical mistakes and improved patient care."
The training includes an introductory course on basic teamwork structure and skills, emphasizing patient-care coordination and communication. The course will include web-based learning modules, didactics, small group case scenarios, video vignettes and simulation exercises with debriefing sessions in the schools' state-of-the-art simulation laboratories.
The team training was developed by the Emory Center for Experiential Learning and the Charles F. and Peggy Evans Center for Caring Skills.
For more information about the simulation training or to participate as a media observer, please call 404-727-5692.