Business as usual: well almost…
Like everyone the SCSSC has had to rethink how we do things. We have implemented a number of procedures and policies in order to meet social distancing requirements and continue face to face training where possible. One important change is the number of participants on courses. For the most part our face to face courses will be limited to 8 participants. This has impacted upon our ability to train the numbers we have in recent years, but we expect this to be a temporary reduction. In some courses, like EMAC for example, we have prioritised our registrations to ensure that those who require a course to complete their specialist requirements are able to attend. This, along with international and state border closures has meant that we have been on the phone asking people to move or postpone courses. We really appreciate the flexibility and good humour shown by those asked to change or postpone their training, and we must say that your support has made it so much easier for us.
Your safety is also important to us, and we have taken measures to protect that. We have limits on numbers in any one space, control the time together between breaks and provide meals in recyclable, single serve containers. Where social distancing cannot be maintained, for example when gathered around a “patient” providing care, we provide masks and gloves. We also support anyone who chooses to wear a mask throughout the entire course. And rest assured that our manikins and training spaces have never been cleaner. After every simulation, breakout session and at the end of every day our spaces, furniture and equipment are thoroughly cleaned.
Finally we are looking at how to do things differently and exploring the world of virtual training. We don’t expect this to fundamentally change how we do things but we do recognise that there is an opportunity to provide additional offerings in the virtual world, so watch this space.
Contact Training Conversations and other COVID related training.
During the hard lockdown and period of uncertainty we, like most other simulation and training facilities, looked for ways we could serve our local health district . COVID safe ALS and additional rapid response team training as well COVID-19 Airway Team Training (CATT) became core business for a short period, as did providing sessions on how to conduct training over ZOOM and other streaming platforms. However, it was the rapid on-boarding of new local health district contact tracers that provided us with a very exciting challenge.
Prior to COVID, Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) had a small group of well-trained and experienced public health staff including Registered Nurses, Allied Health professionals, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists. Bringing on large numbers of contact tracers quickly provided some challenges and the SCSSC was pleased to be able to offer some help. Using our expertise in teaching strategies for challenging and difficult conversation training, Anne Starr and Phil Cheung, in partnership with NSLHD Public Health Unit, developed a 6 hour module as part of the contact tracers’ induction program.
Delivering news of a positive swab or informing a close contact is difficult, and the fact that this news is delivered via telephone makes it even more challenging. Recognising and subsequently empathising and managing emotion is challenging when the only cues you have are spoken words and voice inflection. Lack of experience in the area further compounds the difficulty. Anne and Phil adapted a conversation structure already used in our training and with the help of public health experts turned this into a structure useful for contact tracers. The participants each follow a case starting with breaking the bad news, delving deeply into one day for specific details, providing health and isolation information and then following up with a cold call to a close contact. These elements are rehearsed in scenarios with faculty actors and then debriefed by simulation and content experts.
It must be stressed that the support provided by our Public Health Unit has been essential to the authenticity and accuracy of content and feedback, and that this is only one module of an intensive program. We do not teach how to trace, rather how to manage the emotional conversation in which the tracing takes place.
Feedback from some participants included:
"You need time to explore works and what doesn’t for you… so valuable learning from others and the different approaches to the same situation."
"The practice sessions were very beneficial. Having small group learning was excellent."
More information on the Contact Tracing Conversations.
Other COVID resources including COVID Code Blue and CATT course
COVID provides an unusual opportunity for SCSSC Staff.
With the closure of international and some state / territory borders the airline industry has suspended most flights, leaving a lot of pilots with time on their hands. We have been fortunate to work with two QANTAS pilots who delivered a professional development day on human factors for SCSSC faculty. As you are probably aware QANTAS is the world’s safest airline and this is due in a large part to their rigorous and extensive simulations and human factors training. Health simulation has its roots in the airline industry and the chance to learn from these experts about their training methods, language of, and strategies for management of human factors is very exciting.
Our plans moving forward include developing an health simulation course on human factors in conjunction with these experts so we can share our learning with you. And the course will involve an opportunity to fly a QANTAS plane in a multi-million dollar flight simulator: very exciting!
Filming during Lockdown
The SCSSC has been a location in several movies, tv shows, training videos and short films over the years, but with COVID restrictions limiting access to healthcare facilities we have become more popular. In the past month we have provided sets for a new Australian movie starring Simon Baker and training videos for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
It is a big change from our core business and provides an interesting opportunity for staff to see behind the scenes of another industry. How the directors and producers see, re-imagine and transform our space is fascinating and for the most part, unless you really know the centre, you would not recognise it as the setting in the final production.
Apart from rubbing shoulders with film and television royalty, we are also filming our own productions for use in our training. We have some very talented doctors, nurses and simcos, both on staff and in the local health district and have been developing our skills as script writers, actors, camera crew and post production editors.
New Courses for 2021
We will be launching a few new courses in 2021.
Paediatric Anaesthesia. We are fortunate to have Phil Cheung here on our staff. Phil is a paediatric anaesthetist as well as a simulation expert and he is heading up a new one day course in paediatric anaesthesia for 2021. We have scheduled to course for June 3rd, 2021 and bookings will open soon so save the date.
Human Factors in Critical Event Management: read above about this new course in the pipeline
Advanced Instructor Training: We are working on several modules including difficult debriefings, advanced questioning techniques and working with a co-debriefer.