Aug. 18, 2016
By Greg Peters
When Vicki Hicks, RN, MS, APRN, a clinical associate professor in the University of Kansas School of Nursing, signed on for a trip to Tel Aviv in May, she knew the interprofessional team she was traveling would learn a lot about simulation training from the staff at the internationally acclaimed Israel Center for Medical Simulation (MSR), but along the way group members received lessons in history, cuisine, culture and hospitality.
"Meeting the kind, dedicated and committed staff at MSR was the highlight of the trip," said Hicks, who teaches population-based health care in the School of Nursing. "They shared a little about their lifestyles and family lives. And they shared their hospitality by introducing us to delicious and healthy Mediterranean food."
The 10-member group was comprised of representatives from the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing who have been involved with advanced simulation training at KU Medical Center, along with a representative from the Zamierowski Institute for Experiential Learning (ZIEL) and nursing educators from Johnson County Community College.
The travelers included: Stephen Tarver, M.D., assistant director of ZIEL; Richard Korentager, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Plastic Surgery in the School of Medicine; Vicki Hicks and Ben Larson, a doctor of nursing practice student, in the School of Nursing; and Rochelle Quinn, RN, MSN; Mindy Ritter, RN, MS; and Tim Laughlin, from Johnson County Community College.
MSR is considered a world leader in simulation-based medical education and patient safety training. The aim of MSR is to reduce errors and improve the quality of teamwork and patient care among its trainees by providing them with challenging clinical encounters. Since its founding in 2001, MSR has trained more than 180,000 health care professionals.
Participants focused on learning more about how the MSR staff uses simulation for assessment purposes, the integration of simulation into clinical curriculum and how it can be used for quality improvement among health care providers. With the completion of ZIEL and with the Health Education Building coming online in fall 2017, the role of simulation education on the KU Medical Center campus will continue to grow in importance.
"I think the trip offered a vision for the potential of simulation," Sabus said. "I was motivated by their integration of simulation in routine clinical orientation, training and ongoing quality assurance."
The team spent three days learning from the staff at MSR. Sabus said it wasn't so much the facilities or the technology the staff employed there but the approach and teamwork that they use to maximize the learning potential of simulation in training and high-stakes assessment.
"They do not dabble in simulation," she said. "They recognize that simulation is a resource-intensive approach that requires that it be done with the highest attention to quality outcomes."
While on the trip, the team took part in several simulations, but one in particular at the children's hospital associated with MSR stood out. The pediatric intensive care unit has a dedicated simulation room next to all the patient rooms.
"It created a very realistic experience by being in a unit, using real medications and in a room next to actual patients," Larson said. "I believe it also showed patients and families that the hospital is dedicated to a culture of safety. Being able to watch and hear myself after a simulation was powerful and allowed me and others to give reflective input on ways I can improve."
Beyond the intensive training the group had at MSR, the visitors found time take a walking tour through parts of Tel Aviv and the old town of Jaffa. Their tour guide was able to share the cultural background of different areas of the city, including the historical site from the book of Acts where Peter had a vision. They even spent time at the home of the tour guide's grandmother, a former member of resistance groups who has lived in her house since the 1930s.
"This was a great experience beyond MSR," Larson said. "We ate dinner near the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of the most beautiful places I've been."
Tel Aviv provided a mix of the old and the new for the visitors from Kansas with an intermingling of people from diverse cultures. And while the country continues to deal with political strife (four people were killed in June near an area the group had visited less than a month earlier), Sabus said the societal challenges were not immediately evident while the KU group was there.
"Our hosts were incredible, both at the simulation center and in exposing us to the local culture," she said. "That included the rich history of Tel Aviv and delicious food."