“There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” – Life, the Universe and Everything
We’ve learnt heaps from Dr Brazil about simulations. But how can apply what we’ve learnt so far? And how can we as medical students get involved? I’ve asked the wonderful Dr Charlotte Alexander to give us a hand and talk to us about her experience with sims when she was in medical school.
Let’s start with introductions! Charlotte, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up on the central coast of NSW, and moved up to Queensland for Medical School. Having recently graduated from Bond University I’m now completing my internship at the Gold Coast University Hospital. I’m interested in Emergency Medicine and Medical Education. Outside work, I enjoy runs by the beach and getting out for a surf.
Awesome! So let’s talk about the beginning of your journey in simulation-based education. How did you decide to get involved in it?
I kind of stumbled across it initially. Dr Brazil was my supervisor on a research project I was doing and she asked if I would be able to help out as a confederate on a registrar sim. I had so much fun I just offered to help out with all the ED sims. The wonderful sim team taught me the basics of moulage, iSimulate, SimMan, AV systems etcs. I think the most important thing that got me involved was that I just kept showing up!
When I did my elective in Alice Springs, I asked if there were any sims going on and who was running them – before I knew it I was a confederate in all the ED registrar sims!
Just an average day in simulations! SimMan teaching Peddy how to be a good mannequin and simulated patient!
You’ve mentioned that you were a confederate in some scenarios. Did you have any other roles? And what have you learnt from your experience?
I’ve filled a few different roles: camera-woman, confederate paramedic/nurse/family member, general gofer for set up/pack-up, prepping the standardised patients (SPs).
As for what I’ve learnt – there is too much to answer. Some lessons would include:
– Preparation is key.
– You can’t put a price on doing a simulation ‘in-situ’
– The debrief is where the magic happens
– Simulation and debriefing needs to feel safe for participants.
– And when it comes to AV, the video generally works, but the audio takes effort!
Ahhh, and I must say, seeing so many sims has helped me out once or twice in clinical situations myself.
Not sure how to intubate a patient? Would probably be a good idea to start by watching a few sims or videos and give it a go on a mannequin!
Sounds like you’ve learnt a lot! Do you think this is something you might continue doing in the future?
Yes, definitely. I think it’s a crucial way for teams and systems to be improved. It allows us to test how good we are at implementing what we know, and can bring the different tribes of medicine together to provide better outcomes for out patients.
Plus it’s just too much fun to give up!
What is your advice for medical students who are interest in getting involved with simulations?
Find out who is running sims at your institution and ask if you can tag along. You don’t need any prior experience and you’ll learn on the job. All it takes 10% enthusiasm and 90% just showing up.
Thanks Charlotte, it was great to hear about your experience with simulations when you were a medical student! Well, that’s the end of our journey everyone! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series on simulation-based education and that it has encouraged some of you to get involved. Please let us know if you’re interested in any other topics related to medical education. But for now, so long, and thanks for going on this journey with us!
- The ESME student online course gives a great overview of medical education. Check out the course by clicking on the link! https://amee.org/amee-initiatives/esme-courses/amee-esme-online-courses/esme-student-online
Written by Arielle Tay