Education essential to COVID-19 care

At the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), when a patient goes into cardiac arrest, everyone springs into action. Just like in a medical drama, physicians and nurses rush to the bedside at the call of “Code Blue,” airways are checked and chest compressions begin.

COVID-19 has completely changed this.

With such high risk of transmission to health care staff, COVID-19 presents a challenge: physicians and nurses can no longer rush to the bedside to assist a crashing patient. First, they must don full protective gear to protect themselves, and only three staff can be present to perform resuscitation.

These new measures are incredibly hard for the MUHC’s health care staff. When a patient is dying, no one wants to pause to put on personal protective equipment. But this essential step could be a matter of life and death in itself: if an essential health care worker becomes ill, they cannot save lives. And if they become critically ill, they could die.

To implement these new Code Blue measures, the MUHC turned to simulation training. With the help of the MUHC education directorate, hundreds of staff from many different departments received training using life-like simulation mannequins.

“There are so many unknowns related to COVID-19,” says Caroline White, Simulation Specialist Advisor. “The precautions that have been put in place are there to protect the public, patients and employees. In order to provide care for patients who have or are at risk for COVID-19, staff across the MUHC have participated in interprofessional simulation training throughout the pandemic to help them adapt to the new protocols and policies.”

Education and simulation training are important aspects of any hospital’s operations. Health care professionals need training on constantly evolving medical procedures. Recognizing this need, Montreal-based CAE Inc. donated $500,000 in funding and equipment to the MUHC’s Skills and Simulation Network in early 2020. It is this equipment that is now helping train the MUHC’s staff in pandemic procedures.

“CAE’s support has had an enormous impact on our ability to offer training,” says Dr. Elene Khalil, Director of Education at the MUHC. “Pandemic or not, education training is essential to ensuring our staff keep up their skills and learn to work in teams. We are grateful to CAE for their donation of simulation mannequins and the funds necessary to keep them running.”

Skills and simulation is a priority of the MUHC Foundation’s Dream Big Campaign. The foundation is raising $10 million to establish the MUHC Interprofessional Skills and Simulation Network. This new network will boost lifesaving skills and teamwork across the MUHC by offering simulation training for health care teams. CAE’s gift provided important seed funding for this important fundraising effort.

Education and training is a critical part of excellence in health care. Help our medical professionals be the best they can be by donating to the MUHC Interprofessional Skills and Simulation Network. Learn more.

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