Via Christi expands simulation programs for staff, medical residents

05/15/2014 8:29 AM

08/08/2014 10:24 AM

In an effort to improve patient outcomes, Via Christi is expanding its simulation program, hospital officials said.

Simulation allows physicians, nurses and other members of a medical team to practice with mannequins and computerized equipment for medical situations.

The computers can be programmed for a variety of situations – such as giving birth or going into cardiac arrest – and have become a popular way for students and health care professionals to learn or brush up on their skills.

Via Christi started its simulation program last year.

So far, about 350 Via Christi employees have participated, said Jennifer Rodgers, senior director of education and clinical practice at Via Christi.

Each week, the hospital has been holding simulations for different groups of first-year internal medicine residents. Individual residents go through simulations about once every five weeks, said Jennifer Jackson, associate program director of internal medicine at the KU School of Medicine, who oversees residents and medical students and also serves as medical director for transitional clinics at Via Christi Hospitals Wichita.

Jackson said the hospital hopes to expand the program to second- and third-year residents as well as other residency programs.

“We originally approached Via Christi about building this program not so much to practice skills for rapid responses and codes but to build teamwork skills,” Jackson said.

“Our residents are in charge of these emergency situations in the hospital, and they did not really know how to initiate being a team leader, walking into a room full of 20 people in a chaotic situation and taking it over and being able to lead that group.”

“This site is mobile so we can take it out to the different floors, pulling in staff that’s not aware it’s a simulation and calling a code and having people that need to respond come and give more experience,” Jackson said.

So far, residents say they enjoy the simulation practice.

“Everyone has a role to play, so recognizing the different roles and knowing how we fit into the team has been very beneficial,” said Katilin Ditch, first-year internal medicine resident at Via Christi.

“You feel more confident,” added Habiba Hassouna, another first-year internal medicine resident at Via Christi.

The simulations will be required for all new nurses who join Via Christi, Rodgers said. Via Christi staff will also be required to go through simulations for competency tests over time.

Although the program is starting in Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals and clinics, Via Christi officials plan to expand it to locations throughout the state.

Via Christi is allocating about $220,000 to upgrade mannequins and buy software and video equipment for the mobile simulation program, Rodgers said.

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