We are thrilled to recognize Cyrus Engineer of Towson University for his recent work using our tabletop simulation to advance patient care in Kenya. Cyrus, Clinical Professor and Director of Towson’s Healthcare Management Program, traveled to Nairobi in July to teach a two-week executive course in healthcare management at Strathmore Business School. 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. 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.