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Medical Simulation Means Safer Patients, Better Outcomes

Posted on Mar 29, 2018

Jen Arnold, M.D., right, and 
Melissa Powell in the Simulation Center

They say teamwork makes the dream work, and that holds true in the field of medicine, too. In fact, deficiencies in teamwork and education are to blame for 67 percent of medical errors. But there is good news: growing research shows that institutions that promote simulation programs are seeing decreases in medical errors and improvements in patient safety.

“That is why I love my job–training and keeping skills fresh is essential to our patient’s safety, which is our No. 1 priority,” says Jen Arnold, M.D., M.Sc., FAAP, and medical director of the Simulation Program at Johns Hopkins All Children’s. “The value of simulation is to provide a safe learning environment where clinicians can practice and rehearse high-risk clinical scenarios as many times as needed to perfect their skills. They can make mistakes and learn from them without ever putting a real patient at risk.”

Top 3 Reasons Why Medical Simulation is Important

  1. It provides a safe and confidential learning environment, ending the “See one, Do one, Teach one” model. “Traditional medical education has been based on the apprenticeship model, ‘See one, Do one, Teach one’ on real patients,” Arnold explains. “Today with simulation we can decrease errors and practice on simulated patients–not real ones. We can practice over and over again like a pit crew to become a more highly reliable high-risk industry.”
  2. It is the only educational method for training teams on communication and teamwork skills, ultimately combating the leading cause of medical errors in our country.
  3. It improves patient outcomes.

This is important for parents because a hospital that has a simulation program and promotes continued education and hands-on training is a better prepared one. This means that doctors and nurses are continuously practicing and preparing for a variety of different real-life scenarios that could happen in a hospital.

“The hospital is also now putting our patients and families who have children with medical complexities through simulation training,” Arnold says. “This will prepare those caregivers on how to care for their child’s medical issues prior to be discharged and going home.”

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