Traditional Poster Round
Context: : Responding to emergencies can be taxing on a hospital system. In response to the high number of activations for non-patients, the hospitals Resuscitation Committee created a new emergency response team for visitor and outpatient situations called Emergency Ambulatory Response System (EARS). With the EARS team and the existing inpatient response teams in place it was important to assure that the correct team would be activated. The task of training over 8,000 employees and potential first responders was daunting, so the Committee chose to train the 22 non-clinical hospital operators to dispatch the correct team for each emergency situation. Following lectures and discussions, testing revealed that the operators did not adequately understand the new system. Hospital operator leadership requested the assistance of the Simulation department to reinforce their didactic training.
Description: : Each hospital operator on 2 hospital campuses (Adele Hall and Kansas) individually participated in a simulation exercise. Two Simulation staff members made 15 phone calls from various hospital locations simulating emergency response team calls. The operators were tasked with obtaining the necessary information and paging the correct team with accurate information for each call. The simulations used a sham code pager not connected to the actual emergency response system. A facilitator observed the operator during the phone conversations and subsequent pager activations and judged the accuracy of the information sent through the pages. Following each call the facilitator conducted a mini-debriefing to determine the operator’s understanding of the situation portrayed by the call.
Observation/Evaluation: : Participants completed an online program evaluation following the simulation exercise. Generally, they expressed significant anxiety about participating in simulation, but found the simulations very beneficial at improving their understanding of the new multi-team system as well as their confidence in answering these high stress calls.
At Adele Hall, the correct team was alerted in 75% of the simulated calls. The page contained all correct relevant information 57% of the time. At the Kansas campus, the correct team was paged in 82% of the simulated calls, and 55% of the pages contained all correct and relevant information.
During the 6 months following the simulations, 105 live Code Blue and EARS activations occurred. 97.1% of the pages activated the correct team, and 92.4% included all the correct relevant information.
Discussion: : Creating a simulation-based educational exercise for non-clinical hospital employees requires creativity and innovation. This simulation program was successful in augmenting the didactic training for hospital operators based on self-efficacy and a high degree of page accuracy in the 6 months following EARS implementation. Designing a simulation program for non-clinical participants was challenging, but the program became a unique method of successfully reinforcing their primary education.