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COVID 19 has presented many challenges in medical training, where experienced medical professionals have had to quickly learn new techniques to stay safe while carrying out standard procedures they’re often well versed in.

Usually, doctors and nurses would meet to practice scenarios and new techniques – however, this is often prohibitively expensive in time and money, and increasingly difficult in a COVID world that requires social distancing. ShowHow has enabled CCDHB to create scenarios that feel like the real world, allowing individuals to practice in their own time and learn from mistakes away from their peers in a safe and risk-free environment.

CCDHB senior registrar Dr Sapi Mukerji highlighted the problem with simulation training in a COVID world.

“Simulation is a powerful tool for us to learn and make mistakes off the job, and VR gives us a new tool in that training pathway. COVID has altered how we could do team-based simulation, especially with social distancing. It was important to have a different tool that would allow us to do simulation training without actually all being the same place.”

“The main difficulties are time and money,” said CCDHB Simulation clinical lead Dr Brad Peckler.

“The expertise is there, but getting people out of a clinical situation and into a training session requires a lot of time, so the biggest issues are getting people together in the same place.”

Learners include doctors, nurses, and many other roles in the 3,500+ team. A key factor in simulation training is the requirement to perform in front of peers.

“The idea that you can do this in your own time, or a time of your choosing, makes it more palatable and easier,” said Brad.

“There are a lot of inherent difficulties with simulation. Some people get very anxious about performing in front of their peers, and interacting sometimes can be quite difficult – sometimes even more difficult than true-life clinical situations, which is interesting.”

Being able to make “mistakes in a secure and protected environment” where you are not being “judged or graded” is an important issue for many people who want to focus on improving their skills.  

Sapi spoke to many of the early course participants.

“The reaction has been very positive, people have really appreciated the tool. This is something they can do at home, and in an environment, they’re more comfortable with. The general feedback has been they’ve enjoyed it and they found it very helpful and a useful learning tool.”

A major issue with COVID is the need to re-learn well-known medical procedures but, with the differences of dealing with a possible COVID patient, “the parameters of COVID, getting in and out of the room safely with the protective gear on and still maintaining safety for the patient and providing good care is actually quite difficult.”

Brad found the technology useful for demonstrating the differences and making sure people got it.

“The way we did the scenario, and the way it’s meant to run is different from a normal cardiac arrest. This was an excellent way to demonstrate that. Where they could make different decisions and if they got it wrong they were told why and went back and then redid it.”

 

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