When the Sidra Medical and Research Center’s Clinical Simulation Center opens in 2013, it will provide cutting edge training to its Doha, Qatar-based learning audience, reports Group Editor Marty Kauchak.

When Sidra Medical and Research Center opens its doors in the first half of 2013, it will transform the healthcare landscape in that nation and the Gulf region. The center, with its initial charter to provide women’s and children’s healthcare, is being established under a $(US) 7.9 billion endowment from Her Highness Sheika Moza bint Nasser of Qatar. On the center’s horizon for later this decade is an expansion into other medical disciplines. One underpinning of Sidra’s capabilities will reside in its clinical simulation center (CSC).

Patient Safety Sought

Project Manager Renee Pyburn. (Photo: Sidra Medical & Research Center)
Project Manager Renee Pyburn. (Photo: Sidra Medical & Research Center)

The mission of the 14,000 sq. ft. CSC will evolve as the host facility becomes operational. Renee Pyburn, the project manager for simulation at the CSC, pointed out the initial Sidra Medical and Research Center staff is being recruited from many different nations. Each member will bring different levels of academic experience, on-the-job expertise and practice models from their previous employment. Initially, the simulation center will be used to help assess and train a variety of the parent medical center’s approximate 4,000 clinical staff members.

The CSC will operate with approximately 35 staff members at its peak.

The scope of the CSC’s training curriculum, still under development, is expected to emphasize individual and team skills for undergraduate up through continuing education programs for practicing staff. Between 70 and 80 percent of Sidra’s assessment process will rely on simulation. The main outcome sought for simulation-based staff training is “to make certain they [the staff] can practice safely together – to take care of the patients safely,” Pyburn emphasized.

The CSC’s learning audience is expected to increase and expand in the long term. Prospective students may possibly enroll through Sidra’s affiliation with the Weill Cornell Medical Collage in Qatar, and from other institutions in the nation including the University of Calgary Nursing School, the College of the North Atlantic Allied Health School and Qatar University School of Pharmacy. “There are about 1,000 students in those schools,” Pyburn pointed out.

The CSC may also be a learning resource for other medical professionals in Qatar and elsewhere in the Gulf region. Pyburn revealed her initial outreach discussions with in-nation U.S. military commands and private employers. “Many of them are interested,” she said.

Standards and Other Underpinnings

The CSC is expected to use a full array of technology in its programs, including web-based learning, gaming and virtual reality, standardized patients, part-task trainers, and low, high, and medium fidelity manikins.

The facility will have full-scale simulation rooms, task training rooms, standardized patient rooms, classrooms, debriefing rooms and other support areas. “There’s also a robotic surgery center in Qatar that does surgical simulation training, so we may be doing some of our surgical simulation training there at the Qatar Robotic Surgery Center,” Pyburn said.

The goal is for all individuals who complete a course of instruction at the CSC to be awarded a certificate. The CSC is also taking certification to a new level in the region as it is collaborating with other simulation centers in Qatar to initiate national standards for instructor training and simulation programs. Indeed, one plan calls for the establishment of a nation-wide, instructor certification program not later than 2014. Such a program would ensure medical simulation center instructors are themselves proficient in the use of simulation-based technology in addition to having requisite teaching skills.

The Sidra Medical and Research Center is seeking accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI), while the CSC is seeking accreditation from the American College of Surgeons and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. “The JCI is also requiring more and more simulation for verification and maintenance of skills, in particular for a skill that is not practiced frequently,” Pyburn pointed out.

Roadmap to Opening

Construction on the CSC is expected to be completed this October. With the completion of the education program later this fall, the center is expected to be operational by the end of this year.

As the CSC staff equips the facility, Pyburn had several recommendations for industry vendors – its “help wanted list.” At the top of her list were surgical simulators. “There are not many realistic surgical simulators out there. The ones that are out there don’t adequately address the many areas of surgical training – so there needs to be a lot more development of that.” Pyburn continued, “And then in terms of birthing simulators there is only really one now – although others are under development.”

When complete, the Sidra CSC will be one of an increasing number of such centers to operate in the region. “The number is exploding,” Pyburn remarked.

Khalid Al Mohannadi, Sidra’s communications project director, emphasized that despite the increase in centers in his nation and elsewhere in the region, the centers’ staffs are ensuring each has unique capabilities to prevent duplication of investments and other inefficiencies.