Simulation-based medical education has come a long way since I was a new Fellow. I used to have to champion its value to busy attending physicians; now, it’s widely accepted as a way to reduce preventable medical errors.
My MOC tip is about ways you can use your nearest simulation centre to improve your practice outcomes and claim Section 3 MOC credits. For inspiration, I’ll also share some of the creative ways specialists are using the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre (where I am Medical Director) for their continuing professional development (CPD).
(Stay tuned for another MOC tip, later this year, on what you can do if you don’t live near a sim centre.)
Four ways a sim centre can help you improve your practice
- Enhance your technical skills: Are you seeking expertise in a new clinical technique? Contact your local simulation centre and find out if they are running a course. You can use their space to practise in a safe learning environment with mannequins or cadavers. This is a very popular approach with surgeons.
- Evaluate your teaching skills: Do you teach at a simulation centre? Circulate evaluation forms at the end of your courses and get feedback from your learners. Or arrange for a trusted colleague to assess your teaching skills through direct observation. Whether you are teaching the course or running the debriefing session, invite them to watch you, evaluate your skills, and give you feedback at the end.
- Create an in-situ simulation: Do you want to bring a custom in-situ simulation into your own clinical environment? Simulation centre staff can help with advice and equipment. Sim centres are very experienced in creating scenarios for a wide variety of disciplines. If you get in touch with the centre’s medical director, he or she can help you plan a custom solution. I claim some of my Section 3 credits by learning through in-situ simulations in my department (Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ottawa).
- If your department does not do simulation, champion it: Blaze a trail for your department! Engage with your local simulation centre and ask how you and your team can use simulation to assess your performance. Whether it’s designing a one-time scenario or an ongoing simulation curriculum, you can get involved, no matter your discipline.
In all of these examples, the time you spend reflecting on the feedback received on your performance during the simulation can be claimed for Section 3 Direct Observation credits (one hour = 3 MOC credits). Feedback can come from learners, colleagues, instructors, direct observers or debriefing sessions.
How different specialists use the sim centre
Here are some ways different specialists are using our simulation centre to claim their Section 3 credits:
- Anesthesiology: The University of Ottawa’s Anesthesiology Department brought in staff anesthesiologists and had them do the same scenarios their residents had done. The staff anesthesiologists were then debriefed by junior faculty (who they most likely trained as residents). This has been one of the most innovative uses of a simulation centre for CPD I have ever seen.
- Psychiatry: The psychiatrists run an annual CPD course on Electroconvulsive Therapy on a weekend that is very highly attended.
- Internal Medicine: Internists use the simulation centre to brush up on their critical care skills and Advanced Cardiac Life Support protocols.
- Orthopedic Surgery: Many weekends, there will be a huge ankle or knee course going on where orthopedic surgeons from across the country are brushing up on their arthroscopy.
- Neurosurgery: We also host big Neurosurgery courses where neurosurgeons practise their techniques on cadavers in a lab.
I highly recommend you look up your nearest simulation centre and give them a call. Simulation is a great tool to use any time you’re looking to enhance teamwork or introduce a new technique, as it provides a very safe environment in which to learn new skills.