October 21, 2020
Respiratory Therapist Ghulam Nabi, left, and Registered Nurse Ashley Hagg participated in COVID-19 Code Blue simulation training on the Intensive Care Unit at the QEII Hospital in Grande Prairie.
Story & photo by Logan Clow
Hundreds of clinical and non-clinical teams across the province have been training and coordinating their efforts since early March with eSIM (simulation training) as part of Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September, staff on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Cardiac Care Unit (CCU) at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital (QEII) in Grande Prairie participated in COVID-19 Code Blue simulation training.
Their eSIM training was delivered virtually via Zoom through an innovative program called Virtually-Facilitated Simulation (VFS).
“The simulation training covered managing and responding to a COVID-positive patient, or suspected COVID positive patient, during a Code Blue, which is a cardiac arrest, or respiratory cardiac arrest,” says Teri Donald, clinical coordinator/clinical nurse educator for the ICU and CCU at the QEII.
“The training provided staff an opportunity to practise and learn how to properly protect themselves while also providing safe patient care in those situations. I think our staff worked really well together during the simulations. They communicated effectively and were able to learn from each other and learn together.”
Donald adds that COVID-19 Code Blue training is important for staff because the situation requires processes that differ from the usual.
“Code Blues are not uncommon during COVID-19. Simulations like this are very helpful for healthcare workers to learn and practise the different processes in a realistic environment,” says Donald.
Over five training sessions at the hospital, 25 staff (doctors, registered nurses and respiratory therapists) participated. The final simulation session, held Sept. 24, saw welcomed participants Registered Nurses Ashley Hagg and Emma Broderick as well as Respiratory Therapist Ghulam Nabi.
North Zone eSIM consultants Monika Johnson, Kristin Simard and physician champion, Dr. Sharon Reece, facilitated the hospital’s VFS sessions from remote locations.
Prior to the start of the simulation, staff were given an overview of the mock COVID-19 Code Blue scenario ahead. During the exercise, staff used a training mannequin as their patient.
As well, they wore the appropriate PPE, and made use of the hospital equipment and supplies they would need in an actual COVID-19 Code Blue. Upon completion of the simulation, the eSIM consultants provided staff with feedback and answered their questions during a debriefing.