Interprofessional Simulations Promote Knowledge Retention and Enhance Perceptions of Teamwork Skills in a Surgical-Trauma-Burn Intensive Care Unit Setting

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Abstract

Background

The current state of health care encompasses highly acute, complex patients, managed with ever-changing technology. The ability to function proficiently in critical care relies on knowledge, technical skills, and interprofessional teamwork. Integration of these factors can improve patient outcomes. Simulation provides “hands-on” practice and allows for the integration of teamwork into knowledge/skill training. However, simulation can require a significant investment of time, effort, and financial resources. The Institute of Medicine recommendations from 2015 include “strengthening the evidence base for interprofessional education (IPE)” and “linking IPE with changes in collaborative behavior.” In one surgical-trauma-burn intensive care unit (STBICU), no IPE existed. The highly acute and diverse nature of the patients served by the unit highlights the importance of appropriate training. This is heightened during critical event situations where patients deteriorate rapidly and the team intervenes swiftly.

Purpose

The aims of this study were to (1) evaluate knowledge retention and analyze changes in perceptions of teamwork among nurses and resident physicians in a STBICU setting after completion of an interprofessional critical event simulation and (2) provide insight for future interprofessional simulations (IPSs), including the ideal frequency of such training, associated cost, and potential effect on nursing turnover.

Design

A comparison-cohort pilot study was developed to evaluate knowledge retention and analyze changes in perceptions of teamwork.

Methods

A 1-hour critical event IPS was held for nurses and resident physicians in a STBICU setting. A traumatic brain injury patient with elevated intracranial pressure, rapid deterioration, and cardiac arrest was utilized for the simulation scenario. The simulation required the team to use interventions to reduce elevated intracranial pressure and then perform cardiac resuscitation according to Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines. A semistructured debriefing guided by the TENTS tool highlighted important aspects of teamwork. Participants took knowledge and Teamwork Skills Scale (TSS) pretests, posttests, and 1-month posttests. Mean scores were calculated for each time point (pre, post, and 1-month post), and paired t tests were used to evaluate changes.

Results

Mean knowledge test and TSS scores both significantly increased after the simulation and remained significantly elevated at 1-month follow-up. Participants recommended retraining intervals of 3 to 6 months. Cost of each simulation was estimated to be $324.44. Analysis of nursing turnover rates did not demonstrate a statistically significant reduction in turnover; however, confounding factors were not controlled for.

Conclusion

Significant improvements on both knowledge test and TSS scores demonstrate the effectiveness of the intervention, and retention of the information gained and teamwork skills learned. Participants valued the intervention and recommended to increase the frequency of training. Future studies should develop a framework for “best practice” IPS, analyze the relationship with nursing turnover, and ultimately seek correlations between IPS and improved patient outcomes.

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