There are many Friday Night at the ER facilitators using our simulation game in uniquely different ways, but we are especially impressed with how Jill Sanko, an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami is utilizing the tool in her work. Jill has found three distinct uses for the game: 1) in interprofessional coursework, 2) in her research about systems thinking and 3) as an alternative to nursing students’ clinical rotations when they are cancelled.

This summer Jill facilitated Friday Night at the ER for nearly 300 nursing, medical and physical therapy students in an interprofessional seminar for healthcare students. 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.

As a facilitator, 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 explains.

“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.

In the research realm, Jill is using Friday Night at the ER to study 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 a bold and innovative educator, and we’re impressed with how she is leveraging our tool to help prepare the next generation of health care providers with the non-clinical skills they need to succeed — especially more effective communication and cross-functional collaboration,” said Jeff Heil, Director of Breakthrough Learning. “It will lead to better coordination of care.”

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