Students and Internal Medicine Residents Learn from One Another During SBAR Simulation Training

A Mount Carmel College of Nursing course coordinator recently unveiled an exciting new collaborative simulation designed to bring together Mount Carmel West residents and MCCN students to educate them on the importance of communication in the medical profession. On June 10, MCCN undergraduate students gathered at the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center together with three second-year internal medicine residents for the SBAR simulation pilot program spearheaded by Erin Dougherty, RN, MSN, CPNP, and course instructor Kerry Fankhauser, MSN, RN. Situation Background Assessment Recommendation (SBAR) is a standardized communication method that was originally developed by the U.S. Navy in the late 1990s. The method promotes patient safety and encourages medical professionals to fully assess a situation before communicating with teams or superiors.

“This simulation utilizes medical surgical acute scenarios of hypothetical patients, their diagnoses, labs and personal/physical assessments,” described Dougherty. “Students, both nursing and medical, can practice communication skills and give each other feedback without compromising patient outcome.”

Each student was given two SBAR scenarios, which lasted approximately 15 minutes each. Students were able to review all of the six possible scenarios and take notes in class the day before, but could not bring these notes into the lab, so that all procedures were performed completely from memory. Students were asked to randomly choose two scenarios, which they then had only a few minutes to review before completing an SBAR assessment with a corresponding resident physician. Once the SBAR assessment was completed, physicians gave orders to the students, which they were asked to repeat back to test the success of the communication process.

After completing each simulation, the student and physician debriefed together, discussing positives and areas of growth from the experience. Students were assigned to different physicians for each scenario.

“I like that the nurses take ownership of their patients,” said Anil Pattisapu, MD, one of the resident physicians who helped with the simulations. Vihang Patel, MD, another resident physician, suggested, “It would be good for the nursing student to do this at the beginning of their senior year and then as they exit school to see the difference in their own SBARs.”

Resident physicians also noted that the simulation was very helpful for them, as well. “This (SBAR simulation) is actually good for the physician,” said Patel. “It helps when we become second years; I remember to ask the right questions of the nurse. I think everyone should do this.”

“After this (SBAR simulation) I’m going to think about how well the nurses do know their patients,” said Luiza Balabanyan, MD, the third resident physician who helped during the simulation. “It’s good to continue doing this.”

Dougherty hopes to continue the simulation program after such a successful pilot run. “This will be an integral part of coordinated patient care for the near future. They learn and appreciate the roles of other healthcare providers and how to improve interdisciplinary communication regarding patient care. “

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