I love sim training. I’m one of those people that laughs loudly and cries at the cinema. I find “suspension of disbelief” easy. Interactions in a sim reveal new aspects of myself. And I find out whether I really know the topic or if I simply thought I did.
Our educators have strived to create an environment that can be both safe and challenging. I’ve learnt a lot. So I was keen to be part of making a sim. I didn’t expect it to dampen my enthusiasm.
The 3 most common criticisms of sim I have heard in my career are;
1. “Sim is not fair.”
Sim is not fair. It’s not fair to stand up in front of your colleagues and reveal some of your weaknesses. Nightshifts are not fair either and give no consideration to how you are feeling when the boss is asleep far away and some disaster hits the floor with you in charge.
If we can’t be fair, at least we can be kind.
So we did not go for the haemophiliac dwarf giving birth to triplets scenario! But we didn't want to make it too easy. Blindfolding the team leader was an interesting idea but perhaps it was too unfair? We certainly could have prepared the participants better. We hoped it would highlight communication skills and it did but at the cost of crippling the leader.
2. “We were not prepared.”
Pre-reading seems to make people feel more confident and allow them to be better role models for the observers.
Real life may not let you prepare. Basic resuscitation is not hard to remember. Air goes in and out. Blood goes round and round. ABCD.
3. “I can’t see the point.”
I wondered what is the benefit gained from putting people through this stressful experience? The medical knowledge could be gleaned from a book or a lecture. The benefit must come from the teamwork, leadership and communication skills practice. Or perhaps, as one participant said to me later – “feeling like idiots together really helps people work better as a team.”
Surely that is the point.
- Rudolph et al, “There’s no such thing as “non-judgemental” debriefing: A theory and method for debriefing with good judgement.” Simulation in Healthcare. 1(1), Spring 2006.