Obstetrical emergencies are rare, but when they happen nothing is more important than a team of highly trained and skilled nurses and physicians.
On Wednesday, July 26, Niagara Health (NH) hosted an emergency simulation kick-off event in the Women and Babies Unit. The St. Catharines hospital recently purchased a SimMom so that staff can practise mock codes and intense childbirth emergency situations in a safe learning environment. The SimMom is a high-tech, interactive mannequin that can be used in high-risk delivery and post-delivery simulation events to assist with the gap between theory and practice.
“Interprofessional simulations provide an excellent learning opportunity for healthcare teams in the closest thing to real life,” says Debbie Audet, Advance Practice Nurse with Niagara Health. “So, when an emergency does happen, our staff will approach it with a sense of confidence, knowledge, skill, teamwork and interprofessional collaboration.”
SimMom has the ability to talk, breathe, bleed, have seizures, and push as if she is actually giving birth.
NH nurses and physicians participated in two obstetrical emergencies during Wednesday’s simulation, including a post-partum hemorrhage and seizure that required quick action from the team. The SimMom was given the name Mary, an 18-year-old patient complaining about feeling dizzy after giving birth about one hour earlier.
During one of the simulations, the initial nurse noticed excessive bleeding and called for four more registered nurses, followed by obstetrician Dr. Emily Baker, who diagnosed the teen with postpartum hemorrhaging. A flurry of activity ensued as the team worked to stabilize the patient before the simulation concluded.
“By simulating these emergencies with the SimMom, it can increase confidence levels, identify areas for improvement, and improve teamwork and communication,” Audet says. “All of which improve patient safety and outcomes.”
The Laerdal Medical team was at the St. Catharines Hospital to facilitate Wednesday’s event. “Niagara Health was chosen to pilot our Accelerate OB program in Canada because they are passionate about safety and investing in their people,” says Russell Smith, Business Development Sales and Program Manager with Laerdal Medical, which created SimMom.
“As a nurse, I can say finding an employer who values their staff and invests in their success is really important to providing safe care and developing as a professional,” he says.
The SimMom is an investment in staff training at the St. Catharines’ Women and Babies program and will be built into the orientation process for new hires. It will also be integrated into the everyday culture of practice and emergency preparedness.
In addition to the SimMom, Niagara Health’s Pediatrics department has also purchased a SimBaby that will be integrated into that program’s training. The goal is to eventually create simulations that start with a SimMom birth and transition into caring for a SimBaby.
“I’m super excited to see what the future is going to bring,” Audet says.