Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Developing the "self-improving healthcare system"

Dr Cameron Knott
While he was an intensive care trainee, Dr Cameron Knott was a member of a team whose patient died as the result of a medical intervention. The experience led him to reflect* on the need for, not only self-improvement, but also developing skills around teams behaviour.

An intensive care and organ donation specialist with Austin Health and intensive care specialist at Bendigo Health, Dr Knott is also now the academic lead for the SRH Bendigo Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre. Clinical simulation-based education is an important aspect of his ongoing work on developing the “self-improving healthcare system”.

“I didn’t like the way medicine was being taught effectively by humiliation,” he said. “By contrast, the simulation-based approach is supportive. Rather than being classroom based, it’s learning by doing. It is also a safe place that gives learners the space to reflect on what they do and how to do it better.”

As well as fostering a personal culture of self-improvement, the experiential approach of simulation-based education enables the teaching of team behaviour. “I want to reduce the silo effect of education,” Dr Knott said. “We teach medical students using simulation-based education, but we have the students play the role of nursing staff or pharmacist. We need to allow them to be coached by those specialist practitioners.”

Such real world coaching would contribute to the work readiness of graduates, another of Dr Knott’s concerns. “There can be a gap between what graduates think they’ll be doing and what they actually end up doing,” he said. Dr Knott is working to reduce that gap through simulation-based education.

* C Knott, A personal experience on staff experiences after critical incidents, MJA, 2014; 201(9), 550-551. doi: 10.5694/mja14.00681

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