May 23, 2013By Lance Baily

International Pediatric Simulation Symposia and Workshop Video Coverage Part 1


Last month HealthStream sponsored my attendance to the 5th Annual International Pediatric Simulation Symposia and Workshops Conference or IPSSW. This specialized simulation meeting took place in the heart of New York City on 103rd st across from Central Park at the historic New York Academy of Medicine. Watch the video and read below for Part 1 of my event coverage below.

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Special thanks to HealthStream for sponsoring this video production in an effort to expand the support for pediatric and other healthcare simulation champions around the world. With the goal of accelerating the adoption of simulation in the healthcare industry, HealthStream joined forces with Laerdal Medical in June of 2010 to form a joint-partnership called SimVentures to produce products like SimManger – which enable Simulation Programs to efficiently administer their staff, learners, outcomes, labs and equipment. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my IPSSW Coverage to learn more about HealthStream and SimManager.

healthstream simulation

At IPSSW 2013 Over 450 pediatric simulation champions from more than 32 countries joined together for the sold-out three day event. The meeting had a very multidisciplinary feel with over 40% of the participants suggesting a nursing or allied health background. This was the first year IPSSW has taken place in the USA having previously operated around Europe.

After the recent horrific Boston bombings the trauma-based pediatric simulation demonstration rang close to home. The interdiscplinary scenario brought together professionals from a multitude of countries to quickly point out that this was indeed an internationally represented meeting.

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breazeal ipssw

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of media arts and sciences at MIT and director of the media lab’s personal robots department provided an insightful keynote on the social robots in pediatric healthcare.  Cynthia reminded us that 85% of chronic diseases can be affected by behavior, and then demonstrated how robots can play an important role for influencing humans in social engagements. With a research project addressing weight management, Cynthia and her team created a study to learn if robots could hold the attention of those on a diet longer than normal computer screens or pen and paper. Not surprisingly, the energetic feedback, dynamic communication, and positive politeness of the robot provided for much longer participant engagements. People even began to name their robots and dress them up! Cynthia believes that such studies showcase the opportunity for robots to become ‘social lubricants’ providing nonjudgmental and supportive feedback to therapeutic human interventions. You can watch Cynthia’s TED talk here, and explore her book on designing personal robots here.

This Keynote address was the first of several sessions presented by speakers with backgrounds outside of healthcare. It was entirely refreshing to attend a simulation conference with experts from other fields helping to broaden our communities understanding of the current and future educational opportunities.

Continue reading below….

Kathryn Schulz ipssw

Kathryn Schulz, author of “Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error” warned us about getting stuck in the feeling of needing to be right – suggesting the internal sense of rightness is not a reliable guide to what is going in the external world. She further reminded us that “seeing powerful leaders admit to making a mistakes and errors” has an immensely inspiring message to those following them. Clearly simulation provides the opportunity for both individuals and teams to safely make such mistakes for the larger benefit of everyone involved. You can buy Kathyrn’s book here and watch her TED talk on ‘Being Wrong‘.


Later that afternoon I had a chance to talk with Dr. David Grant, recently appointed President of IPSS, or International Pediatric Simulation Society, which runs IPSSW. David explained that “Although there are simulation societies in the US and other parts of the world, what our pediatric simulation colleagues found was that their membership and organizations are so much about adult practice, and so we felt that there were very few elements that dealt specifically with our pediatric needs.”

I agreed with Dr. Grant that because cases of childhood illness or trauma were rare in pediatric education – simulation could really fill the gap of learning opportunities. David added “Yes so it’s this idea of critical-mass volume, and so the high-risk low volume events is exactly what a lot of our simulation programs evolved around. When I trained, it was acceptable for people to learn on patients, and so through simulation education (and changes in medical education and nursing practices and training), we are trying to move that learning curve and expertise further away from the patient so that we have those learning experiences in a simulated patient environment rather than a clinical patient.

A full interview video with Dr. Grant will be released shortly but for now you can learn more about the International Pediatric Simulation Society by visiting their website at

Breakout sessions occurred through the day and mostly consisted of 20-minute presentations covering several similar topics. In one session, Dr. David Kessler from New York Presbyterian shared how an infant lp just-in-time simulation training program that had quickly doubled success rates in his center, proved more difficult to expand and replicate to 35 more hospitals, siting a lack of commitment by administrators to follow through correctly. This furthers my belief that simulation is mostly held back by the lack of passionate operational staff behind it.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my HealthStream sponsored coverage of IPSSW 2013!

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