Interprofessional Student Teams Vie to Treat Simulated Patients

The Life Sabers, the winning team in this year's Sim Wars, compete in the final round of the competition. 

Another student team competes in Sim Wars during an early round of the competition.

Kumar Patel, a student in the College of Health Professions' physician assistant program, holds the Sim Wars plaque as his Life Saber team members stand around him. Jordan Brazeal, a College of Pharmacy resident, stands behind them while wearing a Princess Leia wig. Brazeal was the host of the competition

May 5, 2014 | “Sim Wars: The Manikin Strikes Back” competition opened to an enthusiastic audience of about 200 UAMS students and faculty with almost the same flair as “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” did in 1980.

Light sabers, familiar characters and music composed by John Williams filled the Education Building II lecture hall as the second annual Sim Wars competition followed on the heels of the first in 2013, much as “The Empire Strikes Back” was the sequel to “Star Wars.”

The UAMS Simulation Center, which organized the event, is used frequently by students for training in emergency and other medical procedures, but Sim Wars again added a competitive element.

“We focused more on interprofessional collaborative practice competencies,” said Michael Anders, Ph.D., R.R.T., director of simulation technology in the UAMS Simulation Center. “The members of the teams defined their roles clearly and performed well as a team. The cases were challenging, and they did a great job.”

By the end of the two-hour contest, the audience had voted, based on interprofessional skills, electronically to award the victory to the “Life Sabers” — Brandon Morshedi, College of Medicine; Michael Edmonson, College of Pharmacy; Taira Williams, College of Nursing; Eden Pettit, College of Nursing; and Matthew Reynolds and Kumar Patel, College of Health Professions (physician assistant program). Morshedi led the team. The other three teams that also competed were: Heart Starters, Healthcare Avengers and Within Normal Limits.

Four teams of several students each competed in three rounds of simulations using a high-tech manikin as a patient. Volunteers trained to act as family members of the simulated patients, nurses, and a hazardous materials emergency official. An interprofessional team of faculty and students developed the cases. The winners of the first two rounds competed in a final. Students were from the UAMS colleges of Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy.

After each simulation, an interprofessional faculty panel debriefed the team. In the debriefing, the panel asked team members to reflect on their performance with regard to interprofessional collaborative practice competencies. These included using the full scope of the team members’ knowledge, skills and abilities, communicating with each other as well as with the patients and family members with honesty and integrity, and developing strategies to manage the patients. Panel members were Lee Wilbur, M.D., professor and vice chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in the College of Medicine; Kendrea Muldrew Jones, Pharm. D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the College of Pharmacy; Danny Bercher, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of emergency medical sciences in the College of Health Professions; and Hope Meyers, B.S.N., R.N., assistant clinical instructor and coordinator of the College of Nursing Innovative Practice Center.

In the final-round, the simulation case was a crisis, in which two survivors of a multi-vehicle accident were involved in a tractor-trailer. One of the simulated patients was a live actor, and the other was a manikin. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed on the manikin as the other half of the team worked to stabilize the live patient who was convulsing in a seizure and vomiting. A hazardous materials emergency official near the end of each exercise also shouted that the teams and emergency room were contaminated.

The overarching purpose of Sim Wars was to give the students an opportunity to participate on an interprofessional team, and the emphasis on communications in this year’s competition was even stronger.

“It was awesome and fun,” said Patel, a student in physician assistant program. “I definitely feel better prepared for a situation like this. It was a good experience and a good time, especially working in a team with people outside of the physician assistant program. That makes a huge difference.”

Another purpose was to give students experience selecting the appropriate medical guidelines for a patient’s condition. It gave the students an opportunity to use the guidelines for health care professionals who either direct or participate in the management of cardiopulmonary arrest and other cardiovascular procedures.

Coaches helped each team learn the guidelines and how to put them into practice. They were: Heather Moesby, Julie Stephens, Ashley Wilson, Tobias Vancil and Mark Tanner. Jordan Brazeal, a College of Pharmacy resident, served as the host of Sim Wars.

“I really thought these were even better cases than in 2013, and the students were operating at a high level,” said Mary Cantrell, director of the Centers for Simulation Education. “You could really see the whole team concept in every one of these teams. They really were engaged in the competition as teams.”

Sponsors were UAMS, the university’s Division of Academic Affairs, Bylites Inc., the UAMS Office of Interprofessional Education and Gaumard — simulators for health care education.

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