SimLEARN Staff Debuts OOORAM Training for Clinicians - VHA SimLEARN
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SimLEARN Staff Debuts OOORAM Training for Clinicians

By Gerald Sonnenberg
EES Marketing and Communication

ORLANDO, FL – SimLEARN is VHA’s national program for advancing clinical simulation training, education and research across VHA. This training now includes Out of Operating Room Airway Management (OOORAM).
OOORAM training, using a train-the-trainer curriculum, began Jan. 23-24 at the VHA National Simulation Center in Orlando where SimLEARN is based. Ten instructors from Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (VISN 8) attended the pilot course. VISN 8 is comprised of Florida and other parts of the southeastern U.S.

Urgent and emergent airway management is often required  outside of an operating room. It is critical that appropriate
individuals who respond to the airway management needs of the patient are trained and qualified to perform airway management. OOORAM training targets clinical simulation educators and instructors across varied disciplines who have significant experience in dealing with or overseeing OOORAM, as well as a substantial role or responsibility for performing airway management training.

“Historically, airway management has been taught in the classroom setting using pictures and slides, and then ‘practiced’ directly on patients,” said Dr. Haru Okuda, SimLEARN national medical director. “VHA SimLEARN OOORAM training is significant because it breaks this outdated traditional paradigm and requires providers to practice and be assessed on simulators prior to managing airways and performing procedures on patients.
The other benefit of this training is that it focuses on critical decision making around airway management and not just the procedural skill. Our ultimate goal is improved care for our Veterans,” he added.

There are several primary components to the SimLEARN curriculum: subject matter assessment (class instruction and written test); task skills training; and OOORAM simulation scenarios, followed by debriefings that are delivered to enhance the learning. The course combines classroom, small group and hands-on simulation activities so that participants can develop the skills necessary to deliver, implement and debrief simulation-based OOORAM training in their local work centers.

Tamas Szabo, M.D., Ph.D, is a staff anesthesiologist at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC; as well as assistant professor of anesthesia and perioperative medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He was also a participant at the OOORAM training.
“The training was exceptional, and the whole staff was enthusiastic and incredibly dedicated,” said Szabo. “The atmosphere was very open and encouraging. I especially enjoyed the diversity of professions in our group with three anesthesiologists, one emergency room physician, three registered nurses and one anesthesia technician.”

“Although we enjoyed the simulation aspects of the training, I think the most learning came from the debriefing. During that time, we evaluated ourselves, as well as each other, with guidance from our facilitators, in a non-judgmental way,” added Szabo. “I would describe it as shared learning; where we all came together from different professions, backgrounds and experiences and shared all of that knowledge with each other so we could all learn from someone else’s mistake. There was a positive atmosphere and a real excitement about making real improvement in practice to better serve our Veterans.”

Learners who complete the course come away with the skills needed to instruct an OOORAM course to train local health care providers. This includes the ability to identify the key points of OOORAM; show the courses of action needed in both urgent and emergent airway management situations; and organize task skills training and OOORAM scenarios, along with facilitation of debriefing after simulation.

“It’s exciting that we are becoming operational,” said Harry Robinson, SimLEARN national program manager. “It’s great to see how motivated our staff is when we get an opportunity to accomplish our mission in delivering simulation-based training. At early stages, we’re also inquisitive for feedback from our students on what can be done to improve all facets of the training.”