In another in a series of articles on simulation center returns on investment, correspondent Marty Kauchak gained insights on the topic from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Canada, located in Montreal, Quebec.  

The Shriners Hospital invested in the development of an integrated Simulation Centre in its new flagship hospital in Montreal, which opened in 2015. Emmanuelle Rondeau, the chief for Communications and Marketing, and Communications and Marketing manager for the Montreal-based hospital, pointed out this is the first simulation center in a Shriners Hospital in North America. In yet another effort that inextricably links simulation and patient safety, Rondeau added, “Our goal is to promote excellence in paediatric care in a family centered environment by using medical simulation, innovation and research to improve and optimize the education of healthcare professionals who work at the Shriners Hospital for Children and their healthcare partners. This will ultimately have an impact on patient safety and improved patient care.”

An overview of the physical plant finds the Simulation Centre consisting of a large, 1000-square foot multipurpose surgical skills lab with its own prep room, utility rooms and dedicated washer/disinfector and autoclave, a multipurpose debriefing room, a computer based simulation room, a large conference room and smaller satellite conference rooms, storage rooms, and changing rooms with lockers. This layout provides the foundation to enable the Montreal hospital to add healthy, appropriate doses of simulation to its continua of learning,

In any era, organization leadership and other stakeholders are always looking for returns on investment when simulation centers are enhanced or built. In this instance, the Shriners hospital is tallying some early ROIs that should assuage even remaining skeptics about the value of simulation and simulation-enabled learning.

“We have already seen a return on our investment. Since the doctors, residents and nurses have all used simulation to become proficient in the insertion and care of patients with chest tubes, we are now able to perform thoracoplasties at the Shriners on those scoliosis patients who require it. This has ensured that the patients will now have surgery and follow-up at the Shriners Hospital for Children Canada”, commented Jean Ouellet, MD, FRCS(C), the director of the Simulation Centre. The Simulation Centre has also reportedly given a new sense of empowerment to all the staff which has helped in identifying their learning needs which can be addressed by simulation. Every effort is made to assist them implement their educational program, ultimately benefitting patient care. Indeed, in a simulated environment, the nurses had the opportunity to practice caring for paediatric patients with chest tubes as well as acquire skills in identifying and dealing with possible urgent situations. “After participating in this educational activity, the nurses were confident and knowledgeable before they had to care for their first patient with a chest tube”, noted Nathalie Dulude, the Nurse Educator.  Rondeau further emphasized, “The Simulation Centre is now an integral part of quality and improvement of service we offer at the Shriners Hospital.

Simulation is at the forefront of Shriners Hospitals for Children, Canada’s collaborative efforts with other healthcare organizations. Rondeau concluded, “ Our ongoing educational collaboration with the Montreal Children’s Hospital, the McGill University Health Centre and the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning at McGill University will help train specialized faculty to be leaders in paediatric simulation thus improving the quality of care for patients.”