The Geneva University Hospital serves a population of 450,000 and employs 1,300 physicians and 3,400 nurses. The Simulation Program at the University Hospital of Geneva (SIMULHUG) was established in 2007. Dr. Savoldelli, Consultant Anaesthesiologist at the hospital and a key driver behind the program, wanted to provide better training methods for the hospital’s physicians, nurses and medical students, and believed that simulation was an effective route to improve individual medical skills and the performance of interdisciplinary teams.
Learning from others
Before embarking on the program, Dr. Savoldelli visited St. Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto and the Center for Medical Simulation, Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, where simulation training was already firmly established to better understand the processes of simulation and how such programs could be developed. With financial support from the hospital management and facilities ready at hand, it took merely a year to get SIMULHUG up and running.
The program has a keen focus on the multi-disciplinary management of critical medical situations which are simulated for hands on practice by the participants and instructor assessment. The training is further augmented by comprehensive instructor-led debriefing enabling participants to reflect on their actions and translate them into improved performance in their daily clinical practice both on an individual level and as members of a team.
Training equipment used to facilitate the SIMULHUG program includes patient simulators: 1 SimMan, 1 SimBaby, 1 SimNewB, 4 Resusci Anne and a number of skills trainers and manikins. All scenarios are self-made and pre-programmed with more than 35 different cases developed so far. Approximately 250 physicians, nurses and students were trained in 2008 – the first full year. Participants came from Anesthesia, Pediatric and Neonatology departments. The program is being further developed to include the Emergency and Intensive Care units, the trauma team, ambulance personnel and ward nurses.
Mandating simulation training
Looking ahead, Switzerland is developing a new, national curriculum for post-graduate training in anesthesia. Simulation training will be an essential part of the curriculum reform and is expected to be made mandatory for anesthetists. With the success of SIMULHUG, Geneva University Hospital aspires to act as a regional resource center for medical simulation training in Switzerland.