COVID-19 has created an environment for learning from the risks it has presented to healthcare worker safety.
“COVID-19 was the call to action,” said Registered Nurse (RN) Crystal Kuras, Nurse Supervisor at Tisdale Hospital. "We are a better team in Tisdale now," she added, emphasizing the team realized many unexpected outcomes.
Basic simulation drills designed to ensure the right care was in place for COVID-19 patients quickly morphed into a collaborative learning plan at Tisdale Hospital. All point-of-care staff were initially involved, but as the desire to learn increased, the participants also grew. Though only the core emergency room team participated in the first ER drills, as the simulation unfolded, it triggered other disciplines to participate in real-time.
From left: Dr. Tessa Richardson, Registered Nurse Erin Small, and Nurse Practitioner Lia Boxall simulate an intubation drill as part of collaborative learning at Tisdale Hospital that resulted from COVID-19.
The team utilized innovative methods for simulation, such as practicing in reusable cloth gowns and masks and creating shadow boards for equipment and medication preparation. A homemade life-sized mannequin complete with an intubation-capable airway was created and a workable intubation process minimizing staff exposure while not compromising patient care was also developed and streamlined.
The approach has already had a positive impact on patient care. The day after the team’s first simulated chest tube insertion, the on-call physician inserted a chest tube in a real patient for the first time, with the support of a colleague. The Registered Nurses present had attended the chest tube simulation and used that knowledge to demonstrate the technique to a novice Registered Nurse.
“We enhanced understanding and strengthened learning by reversing roles,” Kuras said, adding the knowledge transfer that has occurred across multiple professions is continuing with plans for future Code Blue, trauma resuscitation, and pediatric simulations.
“We are a stronger, more informed team with increased confidence.”