RCCC classes take part in emergency simulation
SALISBURY — The program chairs of the health and education department, as well as emergency medical science, collaborated on the first health programs simulation at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
“I have always wanted to do something like this,” said Dean Wendy Barnhardt of the health and education department. “It is so important to be able to work together to provide the best, cohesive health care for our patients.”
Interprofessional education has had a recent surge in attention because several accrediting agencies see its value, so they have begun requiring programs to meet standards. Research also indicates that IPE improves patient outcomes and fosters responsibility, communication, assertiveness, autonomy and respect in health care teams.
Some 150 students met in the Rowan-Cabarrus auditorium for an overview of the day and then separated into assigned groups. Each of the seven groups included current nursing, radiography, dental assisting, occupational therapy assistant and EMT students.
In intervals, students participated in a simulated emergency medical situation and then progressed through each step of care.
“To have the opportunity to learn about the other health care professions is very valuable to our students,” said Amy Mahle, chairwoman of the occupational therapy assistant program. “The students need to learn how to collaborate in a broader sense and this simulation is going to give them that insight.”
Students participated in two ways: They played the role of the health care professional they are training to be, and when they did not have a role in a particular setting, they observed the scenario.
For example, students worked with each other to provide simulated care to the patient, then stepped out and perhaps stepped back in as warranted. This gave the students the opportunity to practice skills of collaboration and communication.
“The simulation has been a great opportunity to learn about all of the health care professions and was a chance to learn how each member of the team contributes to patients’ positive health outcomes,” said Alicia Gonzales, an occupational therapy assistant student.
The “patient” and “family member/caregiver,” played by first-semester EMT students and volunteers, traveled through the simulated continuum of care in the college’s health sciences building, including the dental office, emergency department, acute-care hospital, operating room, inpatient rehabilitation, home (home health), and outpatient care.
Each scenario was captured on video to be played back during a group debriefing led by faculty members. This gave the students the chance to discuss each scenario and ask questions to group members from other programs.
“I think it was a good opportunity to see everyone work together. We spend a lot of time learning about the teamwork of health care, but to see each step makes you feel like a bigger family,” said Amanda Keene, a nursing student.
Students are also doing learning activities in blended groups from each of the programs, using an IPE Blackboard shell designed by the program chairs. The focus of the training is for students to improve communication skills with other health care professionals.
The simulation was supported by the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation.
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