May 15, 2023

Real-world synergy through in-situ scenarios

Northern Health’s Simulation and Safety Unit is paving the way to build stronger multidisciplinary links that will ultimately improve patient care.

Dr Kirin Channa, the recently appointed Medical Lead, In-Situ Simulation, together with Elise Sutton, Nurse Coordinator, Simulation and Safety, are keen to incorporate simulations into both operational expansion and quality improvements for policies and procedures.

As described by Dr Channa and Ms Sutton, when it comes to human factors, there are four types relating to work:

Work as imagined, what we believe is happening. Work as prescribed, what were told to do. Work as described, how we explain it to others, and finally work as done.

It’s this factor, ‘work as done,’ that the Simulation and Safety Unit want to focus on. As Dr. Channa explained, it’s more about how people, policies and procedures combine, and less about testing clinical knowledge.

“Simulations were instrumental in the successful launch of the Main Ward Block. Doctors, nurses and PSAs all played a part in providing feedback on what worked and what didn’t, ensuring any issues in procedures could be fixed well before patients ever set foot in the space,” said Dr Channa.

Mini simulations held during the COVID-19 pandemic within the Emergency Department and the Anaesthetic and Intensive Care teams helped foster trust and long-lasting relationships that have benefited many staff.

“Medical and nursing times often just don’t line up, so we end up in silos. In-situ simulations are held on the ward, at an ad hoc time, so staff can treat it as if it’s a real patient,” said Ms Sutton.

“We’re testing the environment and systems – we’re not testing the staff on their clinical knowledge. So we often share the scenario beforehand so that everyone knows what to expect. Also, it’s fun!” Dr Channa added.

Debriefs are a really significant part of the process as it gives everyone a voice and can bring about some new understanding. Feedback following the simulations often highlights how, a few days after a specific simulation, the same patient presentation happens in real life, and the unity between the departments is really tangible.

The Simulation and Safety Unit has big plans to expand but are currently only available one day a week. To book a simulation, or just find out any more information, please email: 

Pictured: Dr Kirin Channa, Medical Lead, In-Situ Simulation and Elise Sutton, Nurse Coordinator, Simulation and Safety.