Friday, January 06, 2012 - Broward Health Broward General Medical Center Utilizes High-Tech Simulation Lab to Promote Patient Safety

Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. - For the past year, nurses, interns and resident physicians in the telemetry unit at Broward Health Broward General Medical Center (BHBGMC) have had an opportunity to improve their techniques, teamwork and decision-making skills in simulated hospital scenarios. The program’s goal is to help improve patient care and reduce potential medical errors.

The simulation teams are comprised of unit-based resident physicians, interns and nurses.  During the simulations, which are performed on special mannequins in a simulation lab, a predetermined patient care scenario is addressed by the team. The mannequin responds to care based on an assigned health history and a current health issue. Depending on the care given by the team, the mannequin’s health condition will improve, remain the same or deteriorate.

“Our initial goal was to evaluate the participants’ critical thinking and clinical competence in the delivery of care,” said James LaFeir, clinical specialist at BHBGMC.

Immediately following the exercises, the simulation teams hold debriefings, where team members meet to discuss their performance. The debriefings emphasize open communication among the members of the care team.

“It’s all about being collaborative and having a joint objective to improve patient safety and outcomes,” said LaFeir. “This part of the simulation experience gives the nurses and physicians the opportunity to sit at a table together and respectfully discuss what is important to each other in the care of the patient, thereby increasing effectiveness of the health care team to promote positive patient outcomes. For example, is enough information given by the nurse so that the physician can give an appropriate order? Does the physician consider the recommendations of the bedside nurse when giving an order?”

So far, the groups have shown improvement in preliminary treatment, recognition of the early signs of patient distress and teamwork and communication. In 2012, the program will expand to include the physicians and nurses in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab.

“Simulation offers us the ability to model real world scenarios that our physicians and nurses could come across in patient care,” said Dr. Natasha Bray, director of medical education at BHBGMC. “We can then analyze the effectiveness of care delivered, the decisions made and how the cooperation between team members affected the outcome.”

The end result is that physicians and nurses have gained useful experience from a realistic medical situation, with the flexibility to recreate and improve overall care.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. Broward Health includes Broward Health Broward General Medical Center, Broward Health North Broward Medical Center, Broward Health Imperial Point Medical Center, Broward Health Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information, visit