Written by Judith Riess, MTM editor-in-chief

SESAM 2019, which was held in Glasgow, Scotland, at Glasgow Caledonian University from 12-14 June 2019, marked the Society for Simulation in Europe’s 25th year. This year’s theme “Excelling Together - 25 Years of Interprofessional Simulation in Europe" had exciting keynote addresses from across the globe as well as enlightening breakout sessions and workshops, and showcased new technologies with the vendors and the poster sessions.

The keynote addresses were very different but made the audience look at education and training from a different perspective. Keynotes were delivered by experts in their field who were not necessarily in medicine. As an example, the last day’s keynote was given by Christopher Hampson, CEO/ artistic director of the Scottish Ballet. He gave us a brief history of ballet and talked about his years of training and the years of disciplined practice it took from the time he went to Royal Ballet’s boarding school at the age of 11 to the time he become proficient. He said they all faced rigorous discipline and brutal candor from their instructors through hours of practice, but they learned resilience and self-awareness. However, he assured us, that ‘practice’ does not make perfect. There is no such thing, in his opinion, but is what everyone continues to strive for. In his mind to be a great ‘anything’ we need to be willing to experiment with vigor, maintain individual accountability, accept and grow from criticism, and if something does not work, move on. Two of his troops gave an outstanding performance where the female never touched the ground. His message to us was to ‘trust’ and empower individuals. She had perfect trust that her partner would never allow any part of her body to touch the ground. How many of us have complete trust or faith in ourselves or in our colleagues? He parted with ‘leaders must be accountable and lead with authenticity and purpose’.

 KT Waxman, stressing the importance of team training, talked about her fear when she first became a nurse and how she had no background to deal with her first Code Blue within six months of becoming a nurse. She described how much it would have meant to her to be able to practice in a lab before she experienced it in the hospital. Waxman urged members of the audience to become catalysts for interprofessional education (IPE) in their institutions and highlighted the importance of breaking down silos. “Working in silos does not improve healthcare, and you do not work that way in real life,” she said. She encouraged the audience to be leaders and to work to make IPE unnecessary because, and she quoted Lou Halamek, who was in the audience, “IPE will disappear because it will just be what we do”. Dr. Waxman is the president of IMSH and the director of the California Simulation Alliance. Waxman has grown the California Simulation Alliance to a collaborative interprofessional network of 65 hospitals and 35 nursing groups. She encouraged the audience to build relationships and challenge others to not just ‘talk the talk’ but ‘walk the walk’ to improve health outcomes and patient safety.

The Lou Oberndorf Keynote Lecture was given by Jessica Mesman, associate professor at the Department of Technology and Society Studies at Maastricht University, who is also affiliated with Mayo in Rochester, MN, USA. Her presentation focused on looking at critical care from a different perspective and looking at medicine in action and questioning why things go well or poorly but focusing on the ‘well’. Her method of video-reflexivity in critical care medicine, particularly the exnovation (an often overlooked part of the innovation process which in combination defines an innovation life-cycle of informal and unarticulated dimensions of establishing and preserving safety in health care practices), while visualizing healthcare practice improvement. The video showcases what goes well, and she suggests we should redesign and visualize a different improved system. She also cautioned that it is not easy but can have a dramatic effect on our system of care.

The workshops covered a range of practices from faculty development to best practices in standardized patient methodology. The standardized patient workshops covered how-to’s ranging from enriching simulation with standardized patients to enhancing standardized patient OSCE stations through improvement of techniques through simulation. As usual, there were many workshops and sessions, and we had to pick and choose carefully the ones we felt were of the most value, as we could not possibly attend but one session at a time. Fortunately, they were well attended and the ones that I observed generated lively discussions and many questions.

Sessions included Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, How to impart Bad News to Mental Health Issues, to highlight a few. Other sessions dealt with debriefing, conducting research, and faculty development, and there were two workshops by vendors iRIS and CAE.

They had all the poster sessions up and you simply clicked on the symbol, which downloaded the article to your phone, and you could go through the articles at your leisure. It was sponsored by LEARNING TOOLBOX and Kubify and made it easy to read the poster sessions at your leisure and not miss sessions.

Dr. David Grant and his team put on an excellent conference, and next year’s SESAM 2020 will be held in Milan, Italy, from June 17-19 at the Milan Convention Center. They are already in discussion and are talking about enhancements and possible live simulations from the three surrounding simulation centres, which should prove to be an interesting and rewarding conference.