June 5, 2020By Lance Baily

Pediatric Simulation Society Keynote Webinar Reflects on COVID-19

The International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS) recently held an online event with a keynote panel which  reflects on recent pivots and long-term changes to the pediatric simulation field. The presenters include a dynamic range of pediatric experts who work across the paediatric simulation spectrum, who discuss here the creative changes they have made in the past weeks due to COVID-19, and the long-term changes the pandemic will have on healthcare simulation. Read the recap and watch the entire presentation below.

The panelists included:

  • Tensing Maa, MD, FAAP, Medical Director of the Insitu Simulation Program, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Jennifer Reid, MD, Co-Director, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Simulation, Seattle Children’s
  • Stephanie Sudikoff, MD, Director of Simulation, SYN:APSE Center for Learning, Transformation, Innovation, Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Lennox Huang, MD, FAAP, CPE, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Academic and Medical Affairs, The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Brittany Dahlen, MSN, RN, CPN, CCRN-K, Clinical Education Specialist in Simulation at Children’s Minnesota and member of the IPSS2020 Meeting Organizing Committee, moderated the panel.

Dahlen began by asking what sim centers and simulationists were doing beyond “traditional sim” to prepare and help with the current pandemic. “The short answer,” Stephanie Sudikoff said, “is anything anyone needed at any given moment in time.” The panelists described establishing training and protocols for parking lot hospitals, developing methods for reprocessing PPE, redefining the intubation process, and more.


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Jennifer Reid stated a shared passion among the IPSSV audience, “I love systems integration in simulation … working with different teams to maximize the tools, teams, processes and environments that help us to provide care for children,” Tensing Maa stated that simulationists have always connected groups that don’t normally work together.

In the past few months, communication and cross-functional strategy has been a key to pivoting successfully in their workplaces. The panel was encouraged by other hospital departments having confidence in the simulation team and reaching out to develop new processes and train staff quickly on them.

The members of the panel represented positions across the spectrum of the simulation environment, and Lennox Huang described the change in directives from hospital management that were necessary to fight COVID-19 successfully.


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He reflected on timing by relating anecdotes about both a lag in communicating among hospitals city-wide in Toronto and being early to announce travel restrictions for hospital staff. Timing as related to staff availability and attention also played a major role in communications regarding COVID-19 at Sick Kids; their all-staff meeting attendance has jumped to over 1000 people per session.

Jennifer Reid described the overall feeling since March as intense and uncomfortable; her group is filling a vital need but are doing things that have never been done before. Stephanie Sudikoff agreed, “Every aspect of this situation is so much more fueled than any I’ve experienced before [in volume and duration].” Sudikoff also described the need for an expansive debrief on the “rapid response sim” practices that have been adopted as the world moves into the post-COVID environment.

In addition, COVID-19 has affected the mental health of frontline healthcare professionals by creating moral distress. In many cases, healthcare workers are relaying messages from family to severely ill patients, and the distance and precautions they have to maintain reduces their ability to offer comfort. Intentional debriefing should be planned for staff members experiencing these situations.

Simulation has been integral to transforming the way healthcare is provided in the past few months, and the speed for development, testing and introduction of processes has led to many innovations that will remain. There has been a change in the very definition of simulation, but what hasn’t changed is the fundamental benefit of preparation through simulation.

How will the now acceptable standards of quick testing, debriefing, and pivoting leave a legacy on simulation? IPSS members will now begin to answer these questions in 2020 and beyond.

More About the IPSS

The International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS) is a global community of pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists, pediatric nurses, educators, and other allied health professionals from over 30 countries, all dedicated to improving the care of infants and children worldwide through multi-disciplinary, simulation-based education, training, and research in pediatric simulation.

They strive to bring the knowledge and skills we have gained to the widest possible audience, and welcome all healthcare professionals who care for children and infants regardless of where you practice. Since their first meeting in Stockholm, Sweden in 2008, membership to the International Pediatric Simulation Society has grown to span the globe.

Learn More About the IPSS on Their Website!


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