When Jennifer Arnold, M.D., medical director of the simulation program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital made the comment recently that a good medical team must work much like a well-organized pit crew, the staff of the St. Petersburg Innovation District decided to help her test that theory at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
With the roar of race cars circling downtown, just blocks from the hospital, the medical simulation team was invited to watch a pit crew go through their routine to prep a race car.
The simulation team watched up close as the Harding Racing Team fueled a car, changed tires and sent it back out on the track safely with precision timing. The pit crew also shared its experience about what it takes to work as a team.
“Everyone on the team has a job to do to make the pit stop efficient and help the team win the race,” said Brian Barnhart, president of the Harding Racing team. “You also have to have good communication among team members.” He agreed that a medical team needs to have these same qualities.
They also shared training experiences with the IndyCar Track Safety Team, which took time to watch the simulation team do an exercise right outside the track. They saw teamwork in action.
“It was captivating to watch the simulation team demonstration,” said Tim Baughman, the leader of the IndyCar Track Safety Team. “We saw some of the same things we do applied in a different way. I think it gave the hospital and our team more confidence in what we do.”
“Today was amazing,” Arnold said. “These race teams are organized very similar to our medical and SIM teams. When it comes to high risk, complex and time sensitive operations, practicing our teamwork skills makes us all better at what we do, whether it’s on the racetrack or in the ICU.”
The simulation program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s is staffed by nationally recognized researchers and technologists specially trained in pediatric simulation science. The goal is to advance patient safety and care and improve patient outcomes by educating and training health care professionals and families in real-life, high-risk situations.
“With the hospital and the Grand Prix both within St. Petersburg’s Innovation District, this was a rare opportunity to bring these groups together to learn from each other,” says Alison Barlow, executive director of the Innovation District. “Collaboration is what innovation is all about.”
“Today was special because we helped children’s medical professionals learn more about teamwork,“ said J. Patrick Wright, executive director of Racing for Kids, a national charity that uses the popularity of motorsports to focus public awareness and funding on the health care needs of children. Racing for Kids was instrumental in helping organize the visit to the track.
Whether it’s preparing racecars or practicing medicine, teamwork is key.