SimLEARN: Addressing Musculoskeletal Conditions - VHA SimLEARN
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SimLEARN: Addressing Musculoskeletal Conditions



Photo: The provider on the video screen is facilitating the other provider in the white coat performing a shoulder exam on the patient. Photo is licensed under CC BY-ND.

By: Lisa Hubbard, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, National Clinical Faculty Instructor, SimLEARN

Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are in the top five diagnoses for which women Veterans seek care in all age groups in the VA (Sourcebook: Women Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration, Volume 4, Longitudinal Trends in Sociodemographics, Utilization, Health Profile, and Geographic Distribution (sharepoint.com)). The most common of these conditions include shoulder, knee, back and hip pain. Despite the high prevalence in MSK conditions in the women Veteran population, training for primary care providers in musculoskeletal care for women has been minimal.

Identifying a need for MSK training, historically, SimLEARN has collaborated with VHA Women’s Health team. Recently, Women’s Health hosted their first hybrid conference that included virtual/face to face sessions, where I had the pleasure of teaching for them. This training was for primary care providers to hone their skills in treating women Veterans and provided an overview of using telemedicine via VA Video Connect (VVC) for the assessment of common musculoskeletal conditions in women.

The Conference was held August 2-5, 2021 in an MS TEAMS platform. There were 20 learners from 10 different VA medical centers that participated. As faculty, I instructed within a virtual breakout room, utilizing the computer camera for a face to face instruction on MSK shoulder, knee, back and hip exams. This interactive session received positive feedback and overall was very well received.  

Did you know that SimLEARN also offers their own Musculoskeletal Training Program?

In the past decade, MSK conditions were identified as the most frequent diagnoses in primary care clinic encounters in the US (Sourcebook: Women Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration, Volume 4, Longitudinal Trends in Sociodemographics, Utilization, Health Profile, and Geographic Distribution (sharepoint.com)). Despite this prevalence, providers are often not well prepared to effectively address common MSK problems within their clinical setting.

As a provider in the VA system, I have witnessed gaps between the time a Veteran sees their primary care provider and when they can get into specialty services; this has caused delays in care and management of pain. SimLEARN’s training is designed to enhance Primary Care Providers’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to manage common MSK problems. In addition, this training emphasizes appropriate resource utilization and access to specialty care. MSK diseases are common, and many patients seek care for these problems in primary care and urgent care clinics.

The upcoming MSK course titled:  Musculoskeletal (MSK) Telehealth classes are scheduled for November 1st & 8th, 2021.

The purpose of this virtual simulation training is to provide clinicians with the framework necessary to perform a telehealth shoulder and knee examination. Participants will review the common musculoskeletal complaints presented during patient care, practice using the verbal instructions delivered to Veterans before and during the virtual musculoskeletal physical examination and provide a diagnosis based upon virtual observations.  Please feel free to reach out to me Lisa Hubbard at my VA email Lisa.Hubbard2@va.gov for any MSK questions or learn about registering for the class.