Simulation in Obstetric Anesthesia

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Simulation can be used to teach technical skills, to evaluate clinician performance, to help assess the safety of the environment of care, and to improve teamwork. Each of these has been successfully demonstrated in obstetric anesthesia simulation. Task simulators for epidural placement, failed intubation, and blood loss estimation seem to improve performance. Resident performance in an emergency cesarean delivery can be measured and assessed against his/her peers. Running simulated crises on a labor and delivery unit (in situ drills) can help to identify and correct potential safety concerns (latent errors) without exposing patients to the risks associated with these concerns. Finally, simulation can effectively assess and teach teamwork tools and behaviors. It is unclear, however, how well the lessons learned in the simulated environment translate into improved behaviors or better care in the clinical setting, or whether simulation improves patient outcomes. More research is needed to help answer these questions.

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