Learn CAMH Education and International Mental Health Simulation Collaboration: Part 3

Published on September 8th, 2016 | from CAMH Education

CAMH Education and International Mental Health Simulation Collaboration: Part 3

For this third part of our series, simulation education specialist Farah Jindani talks about the practical application of simulation for health care teams.

Realizing the Potential of Diversity in Interprofessional Health Care Teams: Simulation Education as an Opportunity for Shared Learning

By Dr. Farah Jindani, Simulation Education Specialist, CAMH Education

“Interprofessional” is a buzzword we regularly hear.  In healthcare, while we know that teamwork and collaboration are critical, have you found yourself saying “It would be so much easier to work alone!” 

Often professionals from different disciplines don’t understand one another’s unique roles and responsibilities, do not speak the same language and in the worst of cases, power hierarchies can surface and perpetuate. Since we work in busy environments, oftentimes we unconsciously slip into working within our own professional silos.

Simulation Workshop at the Mental-Physical Interface (SWAMPI)

The SWAMPI courses jointly held between Maudsley Simulation and CAMH Education were an opportunity for clinicians to enhance their clinical knowledge and dive into interprofessional health care practice. Physicians, psychiatrists and nurses from various hospitals within the Medical Psychiatry Alliance (MPA) participated in the simulation courses that involved the management of patients with physical and mental health comorbidity. The courses are designed to model a safe space to practice communication and collaboration skills within multidisciplinary teams.

Participants were involved in a series of simulated scenarios with actors in the roles of patients.

Simulated scenarios

Each simulation began with a pre-brief or introduction of the clinical case, an assessment in which a health care professional from one discipline interacted with the client or family, and a consultation between two professionals from different disciplines (often a physician/psychiatrist and nurse). Based on the consultation, the interprofessional care team intervened with the patient.  At the conclusion of the clinical case, a formal debrief session using an evidence-based debrief model was facilitated by the faculty. The debriefing provided a chance for all participants to share and reflect on their experiences in a descriptive, analytical and applicable real life encounter.

Benefits of simulation

A few major benefits for working in an interdisciplinary way were identified:

  • collaboration
  • reflection and debrief
  • discussion.

The simulation courses provided an opportunity for clinicians (many of whom also wear educator hats) to reflect on their practice. Lack of clarity, role confusion and related interprofessional issues often stem from lack of knowledge and collaboration. While this typically happens in our work environments in health care, we often do not have the chance to reflect and debrief as a group.  The debrief portions of the course allowed professionals from various disciplines to share their experience of the case and how this translates to typical patient care. Discussions of power hierarchies, role clarity and scope arose. The benefits of these discussions were echoed in participant evaluations as a chance to build networks, collaborate, and share resources in actual clinical care encounters.

Identified opportunities

During the simulations, participants worked through a clinical case together.  In doing so, there were opportunities to:

  • take advantage of supporting one another’s work and building on one another’s role
  • demonstrate how roles overlap
  • build respect between professions.

Insights were shared and participants expressed in their evaluations that these discussions provided a chance to build bridges across professions. During the course, the simulation team observed that participants were also networking and sharing resources across disciplines.

The SWAMPI simulation courses demonstrated how the buzzword “interprofessional” extends far into practice. When working with other health professionals, an approach that uses collaboration and discussion it can only improve patient and family care.

You may find yourself saying “It would be so much easier if I didn’t have to work alone!” 


Follow our entire SWAMPI Simulation series:

Part One: It all started with a little note

Part Two: It Takes a Team of People–Both Real and Simulated

Part Three: Realizing the Potential of Diversity in Interprofessional Health Care Teams

Part Four: 5Qs with A Simulation Team Research Analyst

Part Five: That’s a Wrap!

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