July 1, 2013By Lance Baily

WISER Nursing Symposium Video Coverage


The 6th Annual WISER Nursing Simulation Symposium took place earlier this month both at the Pittsburgh Hilton and at the WISER center located next door. Watch the event coverage or read the complete article below:

Sponsored Content:

Before getting deeper into the event though, I wanted to share more about UPMC’s historical connection to the modern-day medical simulation industry, which I learned from WISER Director and IMSH President Dr. Paul Phrampus:

paul phrampus

“So in 1994 anesthesiologists approached the chairmen of anesthesiology in response to a number of reports in the medial literature about the safety of operating rooms and anesthesia being delivered. The chairman at the time believed whole heartedly in simulation as a patient safety mechanism he committed a large sum of the departments money to make an initial investment in simulation. I’ve understood that number to be about $250,000 which in 1994 dollars was a significant investment.

I’ve also understood that a number of other colleagues thought he was crazy to invest that level of finance in the new technology. However, the Simulation efforts then began to blossom and there was recruitment of other areas that had patient safety initiatives going on, which where there looking for improvements in areas of quality in patient safety. This lead to the broadening of the scope of the simulation program at the University of Pittsburg. There were a number of senior leaders who had the fore thought to invest in simulation while a lot of people think of simulation as normal part of healthcare… in 1994 this was pretty much unthought-of.

Sponsored Content:

The academic efforts lead to safer care of the delivery of anesthetics in the operating room, and then there were a number of medical student programs and a number of nursing school programs that started to use simulation. Many people started to recognize the power of simulation, but one of the prevailing barriers at the time was that the only simulator practical and available for this area of training was significantly expensive, and that remained a barrier for quite some time.

The founding director of WISER Doctor John Schaefer was the anesthesiologist who approached the chairman at that time, and was trained in undergrad as an engineer and became an anesthesiologist. He literally in his garage set out to design a lower cost solution for many of the components that have evolved into common simulators today. Initially he developed the initial airway control and mechanisms that allowed difficult airway training that were eventually adopted by MPL (Medical Plastics Lab). Eventually that intellectual property were transferred to Laerdal and became the airway mechanisms in the SimMan and as you may know, SimMan is one of the most widely used simulator platforms in the world.”

I then spoke with Nursing Professor and WISER Associate Director John M. O’Donnell CRNA, MSN, DrPH to learn about the collaborative institutions involved with WISER and the objectives of the nursing conference event. John reminded us:

“Six years ago, Paul Phrampus and I collaborated together and came up with the idea that we should have a multi-professional simulation course that focused mostly on nursing issues but open to anyone who wanted to come, and hold it as an international meeting which been running successfully ever since. The University of Pittsburgh (Academic) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Health System), which are two separate entities, together help us found and support WISER, which is the Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research. As we move forward working with our 9,000 nurses in our health system and our schools of nursing we have developed a group of supporters which has allowed us to hold this conference.

Our theme of this meeting is Bridges, and so we wanted to think of bridges between the didactic space and the clinical space and so we heard a variety of speakers, the first of which was Dr. Paul Phrampus, who is the President of Society for Simulation in Healthcare – and he gave a vision for where Simulation is and where its going.”

Dr. Phrampus’ presentation covered many topics, but what I found really unique was his suggestion that simulation can and should be explored for learner assessment and/or performance reviews.  Utilizing research examples which demonstrated an increase in learner outcomes and retention due to post-simulation exams, Paul made a really strong case for this shift in thinking towards simulation – which is demonstrated in the video above. He also showed how simulation can be used to exam individual moments of healthcare frame-by-frame, like taking a photograph of water droplets which occur too quickly for the human eye.  With this concept, Paul argued, we can tweak healthcare into perfection by identifying and slightly modifying all the possible variables which will ultimately lead to greater patient outcomes.

dr. paul phrampus

Afterwords I sat in on an amazing presentation about using simulation to test-run patient movement for a hospital relocation by Melinda Hamilton MD which I will summarize in a future article!

Next, we heard from Suzie Kardong-Edgren PhD RN Editor of the Clinical Simulation in Nursing Journal about bridging simulation research to publication, where she recommended these topics of interest those looking to get published:

  1. New uses of clinical simulation
  2. Use of simulation to teach…?
  3. Well executed research articles
  4. Higher level evaluation pieces
  5. New and novel items

After the morning sessions attendees shuffled to the WISER center located next door to engage in some really helpful simulation workshops. Jennifer Manos MSN provided an introduction to pediatric simulation orientation while next door, admin gurus Dan Battista MBA and Tomas Dongilli helped managers learn how to put together sim lab policies and procedures. They reminded us to collect documentation from our overarching institutions first which may provide both a format and already cover some key topic areas like dress code.

Jeffrey Groom PhD CRNA shared his successful medical student program which asked senior students to design and facilitate simulation scenarios for junior students – which helped retention and learning outcomes by providing learners the opportunity to show their knowledge by teaching others. Back at the hotel, Dr. Benjamin Berg conducted a breakout session about curriculum development and integration. Lastly, John and Paul provided how to reinforce student’s learning through structured and supported debriefing techniques.

pitt engineering body explorer

Nearby, University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering Biomedical Graduate Student Doug Nelson showcased the Simulation and Medical Technology Research and Development Center’s Body Explorer System. Using a projector and wii remote pen-system, Doug was able to draw over the body of a manikin and cut through various layers of animated skin! Watch the video coverage above to see it working beautifully in action!

Finally, to hear a Nurses perspective on the event, I asked a random attendee her thoughts on the meeting. Ruth Henderson RN MSN from Charleston Southern University suggested she “learned a great deal” and “would recommend this WISER Symposium for anyone interested in simulation, especially nurses”. And I wholeheartedly agree as this event really showcased some great advances in simulation!

To learn more about WISER and their Nursing Simulation Symposium or other globally-held simulation events, check out their website at http://www.wiser.pitt.edu. Oh, and be sure to stop by the UPMC Blog!

Sponsored Content: