Nursing new hires and organizers share enthusiasm after completing simulations.

New orientation brings textbooks to life

Shifts on VGH’s Burn, Trauma and High Acuity Unit (BTHAU) are intense. Even with their specialist training from BCIT, new nursing hires often find the environment challenging and  frequently learn much more as they go. To help them hit the ground running, Laurie McLauchlin, the unit’s clinical nurse educator, proposed the idea of an all-day simulation exercise as part of the orientation program for new staff.

“Our goal was to consolidate the theoretical component with hands-on, practical experience in a safe learning environment,” says Laurie. “Simulation technology enables new staff to incorporate the principles they’ve learned at BCIT and follow through with an exciting practical application to complex case scenarios.”

Working with the VCH clinical education simulation program, Laurie and colleagues Suzie Allen Logie, patient services manager, and Allana Leblanc, clinical nurse specialist, developed the pilot and launched in late March.

A new way of learning

“This has never been done before for any new hire orientation at VCH,” says rural regional clinical educator Jaime Gallaher who, along with Mark Searra and Christina Choung, assisted with delivering the five simulation exercises. “We were there to help provide the absolute most optimal education simulation for nurses starting on this unit. They have a lot of book theory but don’t always understand how to apply that critical thinking. One of the best ways to learn this is through simulation.”

The simulations allow nurses to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom by responding to critical real-life situations before they encounter patients on the unit. This provides a safe atmosphere for learning; it builds the nurses’ confidence and it ensures the highest quality of patient care is maintained.

As one of the participants remarked at the end of the day, “It’s like my textbook came to life.”

“The feedback was very positive and the nurses felt the exercises increased their skills, knowledge and confidence prior to beginning work in the BTHAU,” says Suzie. “Simulation exercises will now be incorporated into the unit-based orientation program for new hires. Our current staff are also excited that they’ll have the opportunity to participate in future simulation exercises as part of the ongoing education initiatives within BTHAU.”

  1. Vivian Eliopoulos

    Congratulations Laurie, Suzie, Allana and team! Your collective positive energy and team spirit coupled with an innovative idea has completely transformed your approach to education. I am hoping that you will invite me to ‘look in’ on one of your simulation sessions! Vivian

    April 27, 2018
  2. Karen Schafer

    So excited for BTHAU. I look forward to hearing how this translated to practice

    April 26, 2018