Simulation Competition Tests Students on Emergency Medicine Skills

Over the course of two days, RVUCOM students treated several simulated emergency cases as part of the annual Simulation Competition. Students organized into seven teams, with each team having fifteen minutes to treat the patient (a remotely controlled simulator) while a panel of judges looked on.

On the first day, each scenario had specific goals the students needed to meet. For the first team, students had to quickly diagnose a young woman with pneumonia and new onset diabetic ketoacidosis. They also needed to replace fluids and use intravenous insulin and antibiotics for effective treatment. Another case was that of an elderly woman who had been hospitalized after a hip replacement surgery. She had developed a urinary tract infection that had led to septic shock and confusion. For the teams assigned this case, the challenge was to identify what was happening while adjusting fluid replacement and antibiotic use.

Students were assessed on their treatment options – which in all cases included CPR following cardiac arrest – and on their communication skills. Effective communication encompassed using terms that help the patient and their family understand the treatment plan as well as listening to any concerns they might have. In real life, this fosters trust between the patient and their physician and shows respect for the patient and their family.

On the second day of the competition, four teams proceeded to the final round on the second day. The simulated cases were that of a woman who had developed a large pulmonary embolism and an elderly man who had suffered a myocardial infarction followed by the development of a pulmonary edema and cardiogenic shock. For the former, students needed to demonstrate recognition and treatment with either an anticoagulant medicine or a thrombolytic medication. For the male patient, management of the airway and shock and treatment of the edema were imperative.

Simulations such as these allow first-and-second year students to learn from their mistakes in a controlled environment, and to learn skills that they may not see until their clinical rotations. The first place winners were first-year-students Rebekah Withers, Arthur Armijo, Jack Strickland, Shannon Sturgeon, and Taylor Fisher. The team will also be attending the National Medical Student Competition in 2020. In second place were second-year students Patrizia Grob, Taylor Harp, Anne-Marie Hathaway, Danielle Kauppinen, and Kailey Stiles.

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