By Sonya Schneider-Ghaddar, RN
Qatar Health 2010, an annual Health Congress and Exhibition held earlier this week, presented exciting new ways of approaching healthcare, patient care and staff training. One presentation focused on the staff orientation project for the new Sidra Medical and Research Center, which is scheduled to open by the end of 2012.
The presentation outlined the daunting and unique task of bringing onboard and orienting 5000 to 6000 new staff members for a facility that is not yet completed. The decision to use high-tech simulation equipment and methods in a lab setting has been made and the simulation management team is now hard at work creating the orientation programme. The facility is a part of Qatar Foundation and will be located near Education City.
The medical center will be focused on Women and Children’s health in Qatar. The staff will arrive 4-9 months ahead of the opening date and must be oriented and ready to function when the doors open to the public. According to Renee Pyburn Project Manager for the simulation orientation project at Sidra: “The idea of bringing in such a large number of staff members at one time and orienting them fully, prior to opening date, is a rare occurrence. But when you factor in that the staff members will be from 40 to 50 different countries from around the world, with varying levels of competency and experience, it becomes a real challenge.”
The state of the art simulation lab is being created to test medical competencies, orient the staff to the policies/procedures and ensure that the entire staff has the knowledge required to function in the new hospital setting. Pyburn told The Peninsula: “The upper level staff members will act as mentors and preceptors to the other staff members and therefore must be the first group oriented. Several methods of simulation will be incorporated into the orientation process such as: use of computerized manikins, standardised patients (actors), virtual reality games that simulate hospital scenarios and hybrid simulation, which is basically a combination of several simulation techniques used at once.”
When asked if these simulation orientation methods will be used in other healthcare facilities in Qatar, Pyburn said: “Yes, we are working in cooperation with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Weill Cornell Medical College, University of Calgary, and The College of North Atlantic. We do have plans to collaborate with other healthcare facilities after the Sidra Medical Center is up and running.”
Pyburn added: “The medical centre will be focused on Obstetrics and Paediatrics because HMC had approximately 9000 deliveries last year and that number is expected to quickly reach 15,000, which is a real overload for one facility. So the Sidra Medical Center will be able to handle about half of the deliveries in the future, which will relieve HMC. In addition, a new Paediatric facility is needed to cope with the anticipated increase in births.”
Simulation units can test 70 to 80 pc of the competencies required for medical staff in an efficient and timely manner. Dr Pam Jeffries, from the US, spoke on the value of the emerging simulation technology and the testing abilities it can incorporate. Jeffries has 25 years of educational experience in the nursing field and she told The Peninsula: “This technology started appearing around 2003 in the nursing literature and its use has increased rapidly. Simulation testing gives the staff member the confidence to handle a variety of different scenarios that may come up, prior to facing it in a real life setting.”
Simulation activities replicate actual hospital occurrences and are being used in both the hospital settings and in the medical educational arena in many parts of the world. High-tech methods will never replace the instructor or mentor’s role, but it is a way to ensure the staff meets the standards required by the facility, before they are allowed to actually work with patients.