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“…simulation has emerged as an important new modality for teaching and learning in medicine. In particular, immersive simulation platforms that replicate the clinical environment promise to revolutionize medical education by enabling an enhanced level of safety, standardization, and efficiency across health-care training. Such an experiential approach seems unique in reliably catalyzing a level of emotional engagement that fosters immediate and indelible learning and allows for increasingly reliable levels of performance evaluation – all in a completely risk-free environment.” Gordon, JA. As Accessible as a Book on a Library Shelf. Chest 2012. 141(1): 12-16.
Learners at the Mass General Learning Laboratory come from all areas of the hospital and work in all aspects of patient care delivery. They are committed to deliberate practice for expert performance to improve patient care across campus.
The Learning Laboratory currently offers roughly 800 sessions annually through 70 unique courses per year, in collaboration with almost 20 departments, divisions and units. A dedicated cadre of appointed Departmental Simulation Officers lead efforts with faculty and staff across campus. Highlighted here are four initiatives that have met the challenging bar of offering regularly scheduled sessions, thereby modeling “routine practice for expert performance” as a quality and safety imperative.
The OR Simulation Team
An exceptional example of inter-professional education, the Learning Laboratory OR Simulation Team brings together attending and trainee surgeons and anesthesiologists, alongside junior and senior nurses and OR staff, to simulate OR cases in a realistic environment. At the end of “cases” the full operative team debriefs together in a rich discussion designed to improve group effectiveness and crisis management skills. A core tenet of simulation is the ability to try new approaches in a risk-free environment, reflect on the experience and “replay” the scenario again, using the iterative experience to cement lessons learned. The Mass General OR simulation work also supports an institutional platform for provider insurance discounts, and provides important opportunities for competency-based training and assessment among physician trainees.
Radiology Contrast Reaction Training
Instituted as an annual expectation of every Radiology provider involved in contrast administration – including attending physicians, nurses and radiology technicians – this inter-professional program is a national model for how simulation-based practice can enhance preparedness for critical patient encounters across an entire department.
Medicine House-Staff Training
In addition to team building or procedural skills, simulation is also a critical tool used to develop and assess bedside cognitive and communication skills. Daily sessions for Medicine house-staff – organized by Simulation Chief Residents who use standardized cases informed by real patient care episodes – not only help hone their diagnostic and treatment skills, but also serve as a platform to model shared decision-making and patient/family communications.
Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC)
With programming that occurs in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the central Simulation Ward, senior teaching clinicians routinely simulate both routine and emergency/critical care scenarios as part of a comprehensive MGHfC simulation education program. Involving the whole unit in PICU practice sessions, residents, fellows, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, operations assistants and others play their part in ensuring constant team readiness for pediatric emergencies. In the Simulation Ward the Pediatric Residency Program has pioneered a comprehensive system for longitudinal resident training and assessment.
The affiliated Surgical Skills Lab provides opportunities for both training and practice, along with a training curriculum for the Surgical Residency Program. The Skills Lab is a SAGES-approved site for FLS and FES testing.
The Mass General Learning Laboratory is always eager to develop new programs for learners across the hospital. Please contact the Lab or your Departmental Simulation Officer to start planning for simulation-based educational opportunities in your area.
Instructional Design & Program Development
As competencies in teaching skills are increasingly valued, the Learning Laboratory is dedicated to advancing the Massachusetts General Hospital educational mission through coordinated instructor support. The Learning Laboratory's Education Specialists and expert faculty are committed to meeting the professional development needs of Mass General educators, across professions.
The Laboratory offers a broad range of services to help educators shape and refine all aspects of a successful simulation-based learning experience.
All Learning Laboratory programs are assessed and reviewed by the Simulation Evaluation Council (SEC), which offers guidance and advice on needs assessment, learner assessment, curriculum development and evaluation.
Some useful tools are available in the Learning Laboratory’s Instructor Toolbox.
Instructor Tool Box items
We encourage all instructors and program developers to contact the Laboratory to arrange a meeting with one of our specialists to discuss your goals and objectives for simulation-based programming. Our faculty and staff are eager to share their expertise in simulation education and to support instructor development at all stages of program planning and implementation.
The Mass General Learning Laboratory welcomes proposals for simulation-based training programs from across the hospital and is eager to work with practitioners/educators to develop strong, dynamic and realistic educational experiences to meet a wide variety of teaching and learning need for learners of all levels.
Program development begins with the submission of the Laboratory’s Simulation Program: New Course Proposal Form, which will provide a clear statement of your needs and goals. Your submission will be reviewed by the Laboratory’s expert Simulation Education Council (SEC), who will make an initial determination of the feasibility of your request and explore the best options and appropriate Lab resources to help you achieve your educational plan.
Their review is the first stage in accessing the Laboratory’s broad range of services provided by highly experienced simulation educators, who will be able to help you shape and refine all aspects of a successful learning experience, assist with logistical considerations and offer advice on the optimal use of the lab’s dedicated training spaces and equipment.
Once a program is approved, laboratory staff will work with instructors on scheduling sessions.
Tool Box items
Scheduling arrangements for simulation-based training at any Learning Laboratory training sites can only be completed AFTER approval of a program proposal.
Once a program’s approval is confirmed, a Simulation Training Schedule Request Form can be completed and submitted. Upon receipt, lab staff will be able to confirm availability for dates and times on the lab’s calendar, as well as staffing and equipment needs to support the planned training. Please submit scheduling requests as far in advance as possible, to avoid possible conflicts on dates and for equipment. Use the Calendar link above to review dates you are considering to see what may already be scheduled at the Lab.
The Lab often has competing requests for training space, support staff and equipment. Scheduling requests are handled on a “first come, first served” basis, but we make every effort to accommodate all requests. You can help us help you by providing alternative dates and times in your request. We will appreciate your flexibility in determining final scheduling, where and when possible.
Confirmation of scheduled dates and times will be made as soon as possible.
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