Simulation Training for Sutter Health Doctors

SMU Faculty Use Simulation to Help Physicians Identify and Treat Early Signs of Sepsis

Appeared in: EMS Sim Encounters

Several doctors from Sutter Health hospitals in Sacramento, Bay Area, and Southern California recently used simulation training at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) to raise the level of education and experience in early identification of sepsis.

Each year, sepsis strikes an estimated 750,000 people in the United States. It is the leading cause of death for non-cardiac, critically ill patients in the U.S. Sepsis is the one diagnosis-specific initiative that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement recommends all hospitals tackle.

Samuel Merritt University and Sutter Health, parent company of the University, are working together to tackle this nationwide problem by providing additional training in early recognition of signs and symptoms of sepsis. The goal is aimed at reducing the rate of reported sepsis-associated mortality.

"Experts believe that as much as 100,00 patients per year die in hospitals because of medical errors and mistakes," explains William Stiers, MD, HSSC Simulation Specialist. "Medical science is getting more complex every day and with so many issues and technologies related to medical science we can only expect medical errors to go up. Samuel Merritt University is where simulation enters as a new method to train students, physicians, and healthcare professionals."

"Due to the power of immersive learning, the American Board of Medical Specialties is mandating the inclusion of simulation exercises for maintenance of certification," said Dr. Stiers. "Samuel Merritt University is able to give Sutter Health doctors a real life scenario that they use every day in recognizing early stages of sepsis development, and the mannequins provide a safe learning environment."

"We use simulation when we teach our nursing, podiatry, physician assistant, occupational and physical therapy students," said Lina Gage-Kelly, MSN, ANP Assistant Professor School of Nursing.

"It's being used in several schools across the country and it can be very helpful to train and educate hospital personnel, nurses, physicians, assistants, and specialized healthcare providers."

The Health Science Simulation Center (HSSC) uses human-like mannequins, managed by highly sophisticated computer software to enable healthcare providers to learn, practice, repeat procedures, and watch themselves on video as often as necessary in order to correct mistakes, fine-tune their skills and develop patient practice that have been proven to optimise clinical outcomes. The HSSC combines real life cases and studies with innovative and interactive procedures, all included in one single training program.

"While hands-on, experiential learning is indispensable, healthcare professionals are increasingly concerned about, and committed to, the safety of patients," explains Celeste Villanueva, Director, HSSC at SMU. "With simulation learning, healthcare providers have the opportunity to develop and refine their skills using simulation technology - without putting patients at risk."

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