Before 2010, Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesiology Catherine Rodziewicz had never operated a human patient simulator. But Dr. Rodziewicz had to quickly adopt simulation training when the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) revised the program requirements for Anesthesiology. New requirements by the ACGME mandate residents to participate in at least one simulated clinical experience a year. As a result, Dr. Rodziewicz’s Department Chair at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine asked her to incorporate high fidelity simulation into her teaching. “I jumped at the opportunity,” Dr. Rodziewicz says. “The department had a fully equipped mock operating room just adjacent to the main ORs, with an HPS simulator and anesthesia machine, but lacked someone committed to learning how to operate the simulator and run simulations for anesthesia residents.”
To get started in simulation, Dr. Rodziewicz attended training at CAE Healthcare’s headquarters in Sarasota, Florida, USA and attended the CAE Healthcare HPSN 2011 event in Tampa, Florida. By May 2011, she conducted her first one-day pilot workshops for the residents at the LAC+USC Medical Center. To further expand her knowledge, USC sent Dr. Rodziewicz to the Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge, Massachussetts, to learn about debriefing. “That changed my life, because I learned the value of becoming an educator using simulation as a tool,” Dr. Rodziewicz said. She also began to work with the new Müse® software for the HPS simulator and helped develop new Simulated Clinical Experiences (SCEs) for anesthesia. “The Müse SCEs take much of the work out of starting up a simulation program and give instructors the capacity to create more stable clinical experiences,” she added.
During the 2011-12 school year, Dr. Rodziewicz ran full-day simulation workshops for 54 anesthesia residents, and covered acute myocardial infarction, anaphylaxis, malignant hyperthermia and local anesthesia toxicity. At the June 2012 graduation banquet, Dr. Rodziewicz’s residents surprised her with an award thanking her for incorporating high fidelity simulation into their training. This past July, she conducted her first summer orientation with the HPS simulator for the new residents, and learned just how far she had come in teaching with simulation in less than two years. “We covered basic inductions, airway management, team building and common anesthesia problems,” Dr. Rodziwicz said. “I used the HPS simulator and the remote laptop, and I stayed in the room with the new residents to keep them from getting too nervous. I did everything on the fly so I could influence how the scenario went. It built my confidence working with the new Müse platform.”
This year’s senior residents are the first graduating class at USC to have had three years of simulation training. Dr. Rodziewicz believes they will be better clinicians because of their training in rare clinical events and crisis resource management. “These residents are very engaged in wanting to improve the quality of healthcare,” Dr. Rodziewicz said. “They are a different generation. They want to change medicine. My vision is to eventually empower residents to get involved in their own quality improvement initiatives, using simulation as a tool to discover latent errors in systems, improve processes, prevent errors and improve patient safety.” Dr. Rodziewicz is currently enrolled in the Master’s of Academic Medicine program at USC and has a letter to the editor accepted for publication in the journal Simulation in Healthcare.