A core theme in simulation-based education and training is standardization. That is, when a scenario designed and planned, all trainee groups go through the same designed experience. Why? Consistency, fairness and a clear standard of expected competency.
If a scenario is designed with specific learning objectives, all teams must meet those objectives and participate in the debriefing process. The competency and standards are the same for everyone. If the scenario is designed according to Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) guidelines, the protocols apply to everyone, equally.
Working with thousands of simulation trainee groups, I remember a specific experience when an instructor was kind of showing off. This particular day, we had several observers in the control area. We had run through and completed a simulation experience and the scenario was announced “Complete. Proceed to the debriefing area”. The instructor turned to everyone and said “watch this” (which in my humble opinion the equivalent of “hold my beer”). The instructor crashed the simulator and the EMS trainee team looked at each other, said “seriously?” and went into another ACLS scenario that was not part of the plan. Afterwards, I asked the instructor what was with the departure of the planned design, the response was “well, anything can happen in EMS”. True, however, this presented a teachable moment with the instructor for several reasons.
I completely understand and appreciate the instructor’s viewpoint that anything can happen in EMS and we had a great professional exchange. We discussed items that might not have been considered such as the added time that the impromptu ACLS scenario added, the extra debriefing for the group and discussed what the added value was of the experience. There were other items that weren’t accounted for. The added time had delayed the operations and administration team in their workflow, other centre users that were delayed, the extra resources that were used, and that we did not have the adequate time to discuss the experience with the observers who also needed debriefing. Also, the other EMS trainee groups asked why they did not get the extra simulation experience and expressed their frustration. The group was right, they did not receive the same standard as others. The deviation of the design plan had a massive rippling effect.
Remember, simulation-based education is about standardization, consistency and sticking with the design. It’s important to be mindful that deviating from the plan can have unforeseen impacts. With clear learning objectives, trainees will shape the experience through their actions and response. It’s about the learning experience.
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About the Author: Matthew Jubelius is a subject matter expert in healthcare simulation. He is a consultant, educator and wants to change the future of people development, education, and training. Matthew has championed the design, implementation, and evaluation of simulation-based education and training programs, including quality improvement measures for post-secondary institutions, private industry, and the federal government.
Matthew can be reached through www.amoveotraining.ca for simulation consulting, program development, employee training and speaking engagements.
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