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Northern Clinical Simulation assists paramedics’ COVID-19 response


Three people wearing personal protective gowns and masks perform CPR on a simulation dummy.
Vanderhoof paramedics practise CPR with new PPE requirements using simulator.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of changes to how heath care professionals manage and respond to medical emergencies. This has required health professionals to continually change their practices to ensure the safety of not only the patient, but the staff providing the care.

In BC, paramedics are playing an increasingly active role on the front lines. This has required them to adjust their existing practices and increase their level of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to ensure their safety. With help from the Northern Clinical Simulation program, paramedics are able to practise these new standards in their crews by using life-sized, anatomically correct mannequins, known as “simulators.”

In April 2020, BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) educators Laine Smith, Julia Strain, and Jeff Dobry were in Vanderhoof training paramedics on providing CPR with these new PPE requirements. They conducted stress tests to ensure paramedics gained hands-on experience and were prepared for when an emergency struck.

Several scenarios were set up where crews would practise administering CPR in the back of an ambulance, both parked and on the move. Then, they reviewed their progress and received feedback.

“It was a great opportunity and I want to thank the [Northern Clinical] Simulation program for helping us get out and practise,” says Laine Smith, Educator, North Central/Fraser Cariboo, BCEHS.

The Northern Clinical Simulation program supports educational opportunities for health care professionals in the North and is in the process of coordinating support for future training like this at rural sites in Northern BC.

"Clinical Simulation is an effective strategy for health care providers to improve patient safety and outcomes,” says Michael Lundin, Regional Manager, Clinical Simulation Education.

You can learn more about the Northern Clinical Simulation program by visiting their webpage.

In recent years, significant support from the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation and its donors has allowed the program to buy newborn and one-year-old simulators that resemble real infants. This has made it possible for health care professionals to safely practise providing care to this age group; however, more help is needed – donate today.