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Collaboration, idea-sharing and increasing patient safety


(L to R) VGH nurses Lynette Brandsma, ICU; Julie Lockington, Emergency & ICU; Jessica Donald, Emergency & ICU; Penny Merletti, Emergency; and Sophie Pelletier, Emergency.

​Vancouver General Hospital's (VGH) Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Units (ICU) are on the leading edge of patient care in B.C. 

Nurses in these areas need to be highly skilled clinicians to work in these unpredictable and complex environments​. Providing exceptional patient care requires continuous learning, mastering new technologies and working well in dynamic team environments. When asked to share their knowledge with clinicians from around the world, the teams were honoured.

Sharing ideas to improve patient care

At the recent Canadian Critical Care Conference (CCCC) in Whistler, VGH educators from the ED and ICU teamed up with VCH Regional Simulation Program leads to facilitate an innovative workshop to teach nurses about crisis resource management (CRM) and the principles of trauma care.

“Participants came from all over B.C., Canada and abroad," says ICU clinical nurse specialist Allana LeBlanc. “As a facilitator, it was so rewarding to hear the enthusiasm and ideas from a diverse group of professionals. We have so much in common and everyone has something to teach and to learn."

“Seeing the departments come together and provide education that will improve the care of B.C. patients was exciting," adds Simmie Kalan, VGH ICU clinical nurse educator. “The collaboration makes me feel proud to be part of the bigger team – VCH. There's such an impact when all disciplines come together."

Offering hands-on learning

The VGH team hosted simulations for conference participants to explore first hand some of the latest procedures available in critical and trauma care.

Participants were split into small groups each following a trauma patient from initial presentation in the ED to the ICU following surgery. Emergency, trauma and critical care concepts such as use of the REBOA, management of an acute traumatic spinal cord injury and safety of intra-hospital transfers were discussed in debriefing sessions with multidisciplinary facilitators.

“It was great participating in a multidisciplinary simulation with nurses from all health authorities," said VGH ED physician and ICU Fellow Dr. Wes Jang. “Simulation exercises like this provide an excellent opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other."

The session closed with an expert panel discussion on establishing simulation programs; challenges and successes; the future of simulation; and creating a culture of learning. It provided practical and educational direction to help others get involved in a sustainable simulation program at their own sites and carry the principles of CRM into their work places.

(Photo: L to R regional clinical educator Christina Choung, VGH ICU​ educator Simmie Kalan, VGH ED clinician Lara Gurney and interim educator VGH ICU Jenny O’Mahony.)

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