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Meet our 2017 Heroes of Healthcare Simulation
Join us as we celebrate Healthcare Simulation Week, Sept. 11-15, 2017. We’re using this national event to recognize five special Friday Night at the ER facilitators using our simulation tool in uniquely different ways, all with the ultimate goal to advance patient care.

We will announce one new Hero each day of Healthcare Simulation Week, and invite you to check back to learn more about their varied and impressive uses of experiential learning to improve the delivery of healthcare in the U.S. and abroad.

Learn more about Healthcare Simulation Week: ssih.org/HcSimWeek
William J. Ward, Jr.
MBA
A veteran healthcare educator with 15+ years of Friday Night at the ER experience

Associate Professor, Healthcare Finance and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Principal, Healthcare Management Resources
Director, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health System

We are pleased to name healthcare educator Bill Ward of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health our first-ever Hero of Healthcare Simulation. Bill has been delivering Friday Night at the ER programs for more than 15 years, and has facilitated game sessions to the widest variety of healthcare-industry participants in our company history. He stands out among our cadre of simulation leaders for his depth of experience and far-reaching influence.

“Bill is a Friday Night at the ER veteran and we are continually impressed with how he customizes each program to meet the specific needs of his audiences,” explains Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning. “Whether he is working with graduate students or hospital managers, Bill knows exactly how to use our simulation tool to maximize the learnings for participants. We are proud to recognize him for his outstanding work during the first-ever national Healthcare Simulation Week.”

The groups Bill has worked with range from masters and doctoral students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and nursing students in Baltimore to hospital managers in Mississippi and hospital trustees in New Jersey. Bill has even presented Friday Night at the ER to naval officers from the U.S. Navy’s Medical Centers.

Beyond the borders of the U.S. healthcare system, Bill has delivered Friday Night at the ER in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Hong Kong and Peru.

His debriefs are learner-centric and he enriches the discussion with anecdotes from his own experiences. He has focused on a myriad of issues including the role of communication, collaboration and collegiality in improving organizational performance; the value of systems thinking in advancing hospital throughput; and the identification and removal of barriers to clinical quality and patient safety.

“The issues that managers face in running hospitals transcend borders and cultures,” he explains. “Managing patient flow, resource shortages, time constraints, a lack of information – these are the same challenges faced by managers throughout the world. Spending Friday night at the ER helps them visualize both the problems – and more importantly – the paths to solving them.”

Bill is the first of five Friday Night at the ER facilitators we are recognizing as a Breakthrough Learning Hero of Healthcare Simulation during Healthcare Simulation Week Sept. 11-15, 2017. This national industry event, sponsored by the Society for Simulation Healthcare, is designed to raise awareness about the role of simulation in healthcare improvement and the professionals who work in simulation worldwide.

Donna S. Havens
PhD, RN, FAAN
An esteemed nurse educator using our simulation in a grant project to improve rural NC healthcare

Professor, Research, Systems/Policy/Informatics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing
Congratulations to Donna Havens, our next Hero of Healthcare Simulation. We are thrilled to recognize Donna, a professor at the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for her exemplary work using our simulation to improve interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) in four emergency rooms in rural North Carolina.

“Based on our prior research,” explains Donna, “we had identified through hard data that the interprofessional staff working in emergency rooms expressed the greatest need for more help with communication and collaboration to deliver better care.”

To teach these vital skills, Donna and her team used a number of tools, including Friday Night at the ER, after securing a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for the three-year project.

“We bought games for each hospital and several for our team to loan out to the hospitals, and taught them how to play it,” says Donna. “We initially facilitated the games ourselves, but part of our goal was to help them sustain the positive change themselves, so we helped them learn how to facilitate.”

In each case, hospital employees participated in a game session and structured debrief that focused on reflection, dialogue and actionable steps.

“Every time we hosted an interaction with Friday Night at the ER,” Donna explains, “it was met with excitement and curiosity, and the discussions that followed later went pretty deep.”

“Donna’s project was an ideal use of our simulation tool,” explains Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning, “because it gave the ER professionals in rural North Carolina an opportunity to view their workplace from a different perspective and to collaborate in a way they might not have tried in ‘the real world.’

The benefits are hard to quantify, but Donna says Friday Night at the ER has opened up new lines of communication between departments and that the simulation experience is helping to promote patient flow.

Donna is one of five Friday Night at the ER facilitators we are recognizing as a Breakthrough Learning Hero of Healthcare Simulation during Healthcare Simulation Week Sept. 11-15, 2017. This national industry event, sponsored by the Society for Simulation Healthcare, is designed to raise awareness about the role of simulation in healthcare improvement and the professionals who work in simulation worldwide.

Cyrus Engineer
DrPH, MHS, MHA
A world-traveling professor who delivered our first-ever program in Kenya

Clinical Professor and Director, Healthcare Management Program, Towson University

Adjunct Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health

We are thrilled to recognize Cyrus Engineer of Towson University as a Hero of Healthcare Simulation for his recent work using simulation to advance patient care in Kenya. Cyrus traveled to Nairobi in July to teach a two-week executive course in healthcare management at Strathmore Business School, and for many of his 35 professional-level students, it was their first exposure to simulation.

“I taught a range of healthcare professionals. There were pharmacists, nursing directors, people from health information systems backgrounds, physicians and so on,” Cyrus explains. “They were very receptive to Friday Night at the ER, especially because they had long days and had multiple faculty bombarding them with concepts from health economics to statistics, from epidemiology to marketing and quality and safety.”

The students were in class from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm with limited breaks, and having a hands-on experiential learning tool was a welcome diversion from lectures, according to Cyrus.

“The feedback we got was ‘Next time, use more cases and more simulations rather than pedagogy learning,’ he explains. “So thanks to Friday Night at the ER, I had to modify my syllabus to incorporate more interactions.”

Cyrus has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare management and leadership, and regularly uses Friday Night at the ER in the U.S. and abroad to teach systems thinking, leadership, conflict management and team-based problem solving, but this was the first time he (or anyone) delivered the game session and debrief in Kenya. His African students were impressed.

“I learned that any delays in making a decision compromise the quality of care that we provide to our clients,” says Dr. Stella Kanja from Transmara West Sub-County Hospital, an 85-bed facility and Kenya’s only public hospital that serves the nomadic Maasai. “I learned that quality care is the result of team effort, so all staff members in all departments should be involved. I also learned that rotating staff across departments helps them to see the unique needs of other departments and how decisions made in one department affect the entire hospital.”

“Cyrus is no stranger to delivering international programs, but we are especially proud of his work in Kenya,” explains Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning. “We were particularly impressed with how he used the game to teach the importance of data-based decision making, which was less obvious to his students than sharing limited resources.”

Cyrus is one of five Friday Night at the ER facilitators we are recognizing as a Breakthrough Learning Hero of Healthcare Simulation during Healthcare Simulation Week Sept. 11-15, 2017. This national industry event, sponsored by the Society for Simulation Healthcare, is designed to raise awareness about the role of simulation in healthcare improvement and the professionals who work in simulation worldwide.

Melinda Sawyer
PhD
A patient safety expert training healthcare leaders within the U.S. Navy

Director, Patient Safety and Education, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Johns Hopkins Medicine
We are proud to honor Melinda Sawyer, Director of Patient Safety and Education at the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, with our 2017 Hero of Healthcare Simulation award for her innovative use of simulation to advance patient safety within the U.S. Navy.

Melinda is working with leaders at the Navy’s 28 military treatment facilities throughout the world to develop and advance the core competencies necessary to improve patient safety in their organizations. She is training chief medical officers, chief safety officers, chief quality officers and select members of their teams in all aspects of quality improvement as part of a new nine-month Leadership Academy in Patient Safety and Quality.

It’s a replication of the Leadership Academy she helped develop for Johns Hopkins Medicine, which is a multidisciplinary training opportunity for faculty, staff and fellows throughout the institution. Melinda uses Friday Night at the ER to teach aspects of systems thinking in a variety of contexts.

“It’s a great way to learn about systems thinking as well as understanding how an individual role within a system is intimately linked within the larger system,” she explains. “It’s just a great simulation of what we see play out day to day in our hospital.”

Within the Navy’s Leadership Academy, whose first cohort met for the first time in early 2017, Melinda is using Friday Night at the ER to focus on the skills necessary to succeed as a High Reliability Organization, an operational paradigm in which high-risk organizations are in a constant state of reflection to identify and eliminate potential incidents before they occur in order to improve safety.

“The main theme around all their learning was ‘How do you create an organization that is more highly reliable?’” Melinda explains. “The simulation and debrief helped them identify and remove barriers for operating with cost efficiency and high levels of quality and patient safety.”

Melinda scheduled Friday Night at the ER to occur during the weeklong orientation to the nine-month program, which is largely virtual.

“Everybody flew to Baltimore and we actually engaged one of our faculty, Bill Ward, who I’ve worked with for years because I really wanted one of the very best facilitators for this session with the Navy,” Melinda says. “He did a great job, and we got overwhelmingly positive feedback about the program.”

“We have long been impressed with Melinda’s ability to adapt our simulation tool for a variety of learners at Johns Hopkins,” says Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning. “We know she’s used the tool with everyone from pediatric charge nurses concerned with throughput to pharmacy and medical students who want to build high-performance teams. So it comes as no surprise that Melinda was able to customize the game and debrief for the U.S. Navy as it transitions to a High Reliability Organization. She is one of the best.”

Melinda is one of five Friday Night at the ER facilitators we are recognizing as a Breakthrough Learning Hero of Healthcare Simulation during Healthcare Simulation Week Sept. 11-15, 2017. This national industry event, sponsored by the Society for Simulation Healthcare, is designed to raise awareness about the role of simulation in healthcare improvement and the professionals who work in simulation worldwide.

Jill Sanko
PhD, ARNP, CHSE-A
An award-winning educator dedicated to interprofessional collaboration and research using our simulation

Assistant Professor, University of Miami School of Nursing

We are thrilled to name Jill Sanko of the University of Miami School of Nursing as a 2017 Hero of Healthcare Simulation for her outstanding use of simulation in interprofessional education and systems thinking research.

“Teaching future nurses and doctors how to interact more effectively is critical to patient safety because so many errors that occur in healthcare are actually related to poor communication and teamwork,” explains Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning. “Jill not only stresses the importance of collaboration, she teaches her students how to do it. She uses our simulation masterfully and her students are more prepared for professional practice because of it.”

“Everyone’s perspective matters,” says Jill. “On every single team, each teach member brings a different perspective and that perspective comes from a variety of things – education level, discipline, specialty, etc. – but I don’t think we talk enough about this across disciplines. Rather, we just shove a whole bunch of people into a workplace and tell them to work together. We don’t actually give them the tools to communicate. We’re doing much better in creating a systematic way to communicate with each other both in medicine and nursing, but the shift is going to take some time and I think we need to develop this more.”

During the school year, Jill uses Friday Night at the ER with nursing students who must participate in a face-to-face activity as part of an interprofessional seminar course. Sometimes public health students join in, and the blended debriefs are especially interesting, Jill notes.

“When they play the game together, it leads to some interesting insights into how their disciplines overlap,” Jill explains. “If you’re looking at healthcare at the community level versus the hospital level, of course the healthcare of the community affects the hospital that is sitting in the community.”

Jill also leads last-minute game sessions when her students’ clinical rotations are cancelled due to Joint Commission surveys. She tailors the experience to the rotation they’re in.

“If they’re in a pediatric rotation, for example, we’ll talk about the parents and the kids, and how you communicate differently with a child versus a parent, and how you make sure everyone is on the same page,” Jill says.

This summer, she facilitated Friday Night at the ER for nearly 300 nursing, medical and physical therapy students, and observed that students with clinical experience responded more readily.

“I think they get the fact that they are being dropped into these systems and need to communicate with all these other people,” she offers.

Jill also uses Friday Night at the ER to conduct research on the impact of simulation on systems thinking, and is currently analyzing data from a multi-site study for which she received the University of Miami’s Provost Award. She hopes to use her findings to fuel future research across a wider audience.

Jill is one of five Friday Night at the ER facilitators we are recognizing as a Breakthrough Learning Hero of Healthcare Simulation during Healthcare Simulation Week Sept. 11-15, 2017. This national industry event, sponsored by the Society for Simulation Healthcare, is designed to raise awareness about the role of simulation in healthcare improvement and the professionals who work in simulation worldwide.