SimWars World Championship

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IMG_8924 2Not a lot of people know this, but 75% of the self proclaimed SimWars champions of the world are here at CMFT.

WARNING – slight conflict of interest coming up.

What is SimWars?

SimWars was invented in the US as the antidote to ‘touchy-feely’ feedback in resuscitation education. The basic premise is that teams of clinicians are tasked to perform a live simulated resuscitation in front of an audience. Each team is scored against clinical care, team working, leadership and overall performance.

This is resuscitation with competition. It’s performed live, in front of an audience of peers and in some cases with the world watching. Unsurprisingly it originated in America and you can hear a little bit more about it in the video below.

Sim Wars from Ernest Wang on Vimeo.

What’s the point?

You may well ask! This is not just about education, it’s not just about entertainment, it’s a combination or ‘Medutainment’ if you like inventing words. SimWars is about making learning fun and challenging. Sure, it’s not going to replace formal educational events, but every so often teams might just want to let their hair down and engage in a bit of friendly competition.

So tell me about the SimWars champion stuff then.

OK. In March 2013 a team of 4 emergency physicians travelled from the UK to Sydney Australia for the Social Media and Critical Care Conference (SMACC). This brought together experts in resuscitation from around the world to talk, share and blog about training and education in critical care/emergency medicine. Simon Carley, Natalie May and Alan Grayson are currently here at CMFT with the fourth member of the team being Iain Beardsell who is based in Southampton.

The Australians took the competition to a whole new level with teams required to submit ‘entertaining’ entry videos that highlighted a key component of resuscitation skill or teamwork such as this amazing video from Sydney HEMS who had I had the pleasure to fly within 2013. Be warned – this has a rude word in it and may upset anesthesiologists….

Natalie, Chris (SMACC convenor) and Iain
Natalie, Chris Nickson (SMACC convenor) and Iain

The teams performed live in front of an audience of 600 people at the Sydney Conference Centre, with the whole event being screened live to thousands around the world. This was a little stressful to be honest, but despite this the team used the power of the internet and #FOAMed to resuscitate and save the patient who had suffered a snake bite to a part of the anatomy that we cannot mention here………(remember that this was Australia).

The patient's wife unexpectedly presented an extra problem
The team in action at SMACC 2013
The patient’s wife chose to bring the snake to the resuscitation area – we do not recommend this….!

Clearly we were delighted to win the audience vote and just like the England cricket team of late we came away with the spoils of victory.

So would SimWars work in England and at CMFT?

Well, it’s been tried in London with great success for Emergency Medicine trainees there, so yes, but I also wonder if this is something that we could do here at CMFT? Would there be interest from departments across the trust in putting forward a team for a hospital wide SimWars at some point in 2014? We have the kit, we have a team of trainers and we have some fantastic resuscitationists so the elements are here, but only if there is enthusiasm for standing up in front of colleagues and showing us what you’re made of. We have a simulator up and running in the ED and there are many others around the trust, at undergraduate level all our 5th year students will be receiving simulation training this year so I’m confident that there should be some willing teams out there…., but are there?

It would certainly spice up a grand round or local educator conference….., so I’m really interested to hear what you think.

And what about a return?

Well, it’s next year to be honest. The team is returning to the Gold Coast of Australia in March 2014 at SMACC Gold to defend the title and we are expecting a tough time as the Australians aim to take the trophy back. This year we hear of teams from the USA, Ireland and Europe so the competition will be of an even higher standard than in 2013. We look to the England cricket team can set the standard by retaining the Ashes this winter,  but even if they don’t we aim to do England proud down under.

What can the medical reg be expected to do? CMFTPostgrad

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I’ve seen an interesting document today from the Royal College of Physicians about what we can and perhaps cannot expect of the medical registrar when on call in acute hospitals. The main document can be found here….

Governance Statement regarding patient safety issues in relation to practical procedures carried out by trainee doctors in physicianly specialties – updated statement May 2013

Firstly, I love the concept of ‘physicianly’ specialities, it’s clearly an underused word and I think we should hear it more.

Secondly, there is some important information here about what we can expect middle grade physicians to be able to do in terms of practical skills. This perhaps reflects a changing training program and a greater oversight of assessment of competence to increase patient safety which is no bad thing.

Here at CMFT we have a number of strategies to ensure that doctors are fit for their role including the use of simulators for procedures such as chest drains. In addition there is excellent support from the critical care and anesthetic teams for some of the procedures on the list such as central venous catheterisation.