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Practice, practice, practice with our Simulation Program
9 minute read

Practice, practice, practice with our Simulation Program


It’s Health Care Simulation Week! Our Simulation Program has a core operations team with diverse skills ranging from education, evaluation, technical, clinical and administrative expertise.

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It’s Health Care Simulation Week! At SickKids, the Simulation Program (SimKids) is a collaborative program using simulation to transform the future of health care. During simulation exercises, individuals and teams get hands-on experience designed for training and education, testing and research.

With the support of experienced clinical instructors, learners can repeatedly practice routine procedures, recognize and treat rare conditions, and practice life-saving techniques in a real-time environment. 

In addition to practicing clinical skills, simulation-based training also allows health-care professionals to improve their teamwork, leadership, judgment and communication skills in a safe learning space. 

SimKids provides health-care professionals some of their first formative experiences in knowing how to care for patients at SickKids. We provide the spaces, equipment and experiences for a variety of immersive and procedural skill simulations that support the preparation and ongoing learning of our staff, trainees, students and families,” says Emily Louca, Education Manager in the Learning Institute for the Simulation and Resuscitation Education Programs. SimKids provides a safe and collaborative learning environment so that clinicians can identify opportunities to improve systems and processes through in-situ simulation, inspiring real improvements and better patient care delivery.   

Learning environments and equipment 

The Simulation Program has many versatile spaces to meet the objectives of various learners through simulation sessions and exercises. Located at 525 University Ave., the state-of-the-art Simulation Centre is equipped with a high fidelity suite (also known as a training lab), control room, debrief room and procedure room. Video cameras in the high fidelity and procedural spaces enable simulations to be virtually streamed throughout the centre.  

There is also a full operating (OR) space within the main hospital building that includes a high fidelity OR space, debrief room and a procedure room. 

The Simulation Program also has access to rooms within the hospital that replicate patient bed spaces. This program is designed to be mobile and the team complete in-situ simulations in many units, as well as, travelling to hospitals throughout the community to facilitate training and quality improvement work. 

In addition, mannequin-based simulations are opportunities where staff interact with patient mannequins – also known as full-body simulators – as if they were a real patient. These mannequins can mimic realistic human functions, including breath sounds, heart tones and palpable pulses. The wide selection of paediatric patient mannequins come in a variety of sizes, from infant to adolescent models.  

For procedural skills training, task trainers (also known as specialized simulators or lifelike models of human anatomy designed to help learners practice a specific skill) support different learning objectives. For example, training arms are designed for teaching intravenous and arterial access skills to learners of all levels.   

Meet members of SimKids! 

The Simulation Program has a core operations team with diverse skills ranging from education, evaluation, technical, clinical and administrative expertise. Simulation educators and resuscitation and simulation educators provide debriefing skills and clinical knowledge paired with simulation specialists who provide technical expertise. 

Roger Correia, Simulation and Resuscitation Educator, Learning Institute 

Describe your role. 

As the simulation and resuscitation educator, I facilitate simulation-based education experiences for our staff and the family members of the patients in our community. This particular role has an emphasis on the use of simulation modalities in resuscitation education, including: mock Code Blue team training, Heart and Stroke Foundation courses, Code Blue training for new staff, and many more. This role also utilizes simulation-based education to identify latent safety threats in the environments where resuscitation takes place, and that could impact patient safety and team performance 

What do you find most rewarding about your work?  

The most rewarding part about the work I get to do is that I have an opportunity to collaborate with a variety of amazing people at SickKids on a wide range of educational activities. This includes working with front-line staff, non-clinical staff, and the families of the patients in our community. 

Anything else you'd like to share? 

I've been at SickKids over 10 years, and it remains an exciting and incredible place to work. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with not only my incredibly talented colleagues, but also the resilient families and patients that we serve. 

Rafael Velasquez, Senior Simulation Specialist, Learning Institute 

Describe your role. 

My role is mainly divided into two categories. 1.Operational: I support all simulation sessions and activities, including setup, maintenance and repair of simulators (software and hardware), task trainers, related multimedia, data collection, evaluation and audiovisual systems. 2. Leadership: I provide leadership for the Simulation Specialist team through mentoring, coaching, training, organization of duties and support of performance management. 

What do you find most rewarding about your work?  

I find rewarding that in my role I can apply all my technical skills, leadership and creativity to help advance the Simulation Program and enhance the learner's experience which will translate into better learning outcomes. 

Anything else you'd like to share? 

I love what I do because it allows me to combine two of my biggest passions, medicine and technology. 

Carrie Mendolia, Administrative Assistant, Learning Institute 

Describe your role. 

In support of the Simulation and Resuscitation Programs I manage many of the day-to-day operations of the Simulation Program. This includes scheduling sessions, workshop registrations for internal and external participants, support outreach programs and onboarding of trainees for the Certificate in Paediatric Simulation Program. Also supporting accreditation functions, symposiums, and the financial functions of the program. 

What do you find most rewarding about your work?  

Working with my wonderful team to support staff development and community education.

Alison Dodds, Simulation Educator, Learning Institute 

Describe your role. 

As a simulation educator, I work with several partners internal and external to the organization. Simulation is used to evaluate system, space, and processes. It is used to test policies as a tabletop or in-situ exercise to prepare the organization for emergency events such as a Code Black. One of my passions is faculty development and coaching staff to develop their skills as a simulation educator. We offer mentorship programs for new simulation faculty. I also enjoy working with international and local teams external to SickKids and being involved in the building of a simulation community of practice. 

What do you find most rewarding about your work?  

Working with health care teams as well as patients and families. My role is extremely diverse, I have the privilege of working with different professions throughout the organization and beyond as well as patients, families, and volunteers. Simulation is a change agent. Simulations can rapidly incorporate changes into scenarios and therefore act as a reinforcement of structured education, quality improvement and evaluation. End users are included as part of the design process. It excites and motivates people to be part of the change process, people feel valued and listened to. Simulation enables educators to offer a variety of pedagogical approaches to health care education curriculum. It provides the opportunity to choose the best approach to education/evaluation based on the objectives and identified needs. 

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