Mock Traumas Strengthen Team, Save Lives

“Trauma is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is an impact that lasts a lifetime,” said Darleen Williams of Orlando. She said she believes trauma centers need to do everything they can to remain on top of their games, no matter what type of trauma comes through the emergency department doors.

During “All Mocked Up Simulated Trauma Alerts: Practice Makes Perfect,” Williams and session co-presenter Michelle Inglis said their hospital relies heavily on simulation to prepare team members to care for traumas in their EDs. These practice sessions include the use of manikins, equipment and hands-on role-playing to reinforce training. During mock trauma alerts, team members follow through with the procedures –  inserting IVs, administering IV push medications and inserting chest tubes. There’s no play acting, Williams said.

After each mock trauma alert, the team conducts a debriefing and discusses what they learned with all team members involved. Each participant is asked what he or she felt went well and identify any areas for improvement.

“In the beginning, we had responses of ‘I am too busy or I am too tired,’” Williams said, noting that the “grumblers” have since embraced the practice and even made suggestions for future simulations.

The simulated trauma alerts have proven beneficial for prepping the team for trauma alert patients who arrive in the ED. Three months ago, the team saw the results of their efforts in action when a full-term pregnant woman involved in a trauma had to deliver in the ED. Having performed that scenario just three weeks earlier, the team was able to confidently care for the woman and effectively employ the equipment that was infrequently used in trauma.

“Practice has paid off,” Williams said, noting the simulations strengthen agency collaboration and enable process re-evaluation.

Most importantly, the training improves everyone’s skills and ability to save lives, and that is what matters most, she added.

“We like to be the best part of someone’s worst day,” Williams said.