COVID-19 hasn’t changed the need for staff to deliver babies at the Grey Nuns and Misericordia hospitals. But on top of their regular work in labour and delivery, postpartum and neonatal intensive care, teams have been participating in simulation training to prepare to care for COVID-suspected or -positive patients.
Though simulation training in women’s health is not new, dealing with the pandemic has meant rethinking and reworking their routine processes, says Sheri McKenzie, program manager, Grey Nuns. And practicing those new processes in a safe environment has helped staff build confidence.
The simulations have covered processes for donning and doffing personal protective equipment, performing caesarian sections and vaginal deliveries, transferring patients and every other aspect of patient care. The training has involved everyone in women’s health — nursing staff, physicians, residents, unit clerks, unit attendants and more — and almost everyone has reported that it has been beneficial and has helped them learn, says Vanessa Elliott, clinical nurse specialist, who facilitates simulations at the Grey Nuns and Misericordia. “I know, for me, I can explain processes better to staff when they have questions because I have seen them in the simulations.”
Clinical educators Emily Chute and Michelle Cyca, who are running the women’s health simulations at the Grey Nuns, say the training has also reduced stress and anxiety among staff. “Everyone has been so anxious and nervous about COVID, and the simulations have been key in getting them comfortable and feeling like we can get through this,” says Michelle.