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Improving patient-centred care in pandemic through simulation fellowships


COVID-19 has redefined many aspects of healthcare around the world – and highlighted, like nothing else this century, the need for efficient and effective training programs to mobilise our healthcare workforces.

The relevance of programs such as Mater Education’s Simulation Fellowship program has been amplified during the pandemic – showing how educators can use simulation to meet the growing expectation for high quality experiential learning that puts patient-centred care at the forefront.

Mater Education’s 2020-2021 Simulation Fellows played a key role in Mater’s preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic and many of their projects, along with projects by previous fellows, are planned to continue to enhance safety and quality at Mater.  Read more about their projects below.

Greg Connolly 

Occupational Therapist, Mater at Home

Greg’s project focussed on fine-tuning Mater’s COVID-19 Management Procedure so it could be used effectively by Mater Home Visiting Services. While Mater had developed a management procedure for COVID-19 for implementation in the hospital, it had not tested its effectiveness for community services. Greg’s fellowship project tested how the procedure applied in a community setting, by conducting a series of simulations based on a frontline clinical staff member from the different home visiting services responding to a referral typical to their services.

Greg has now returned to his occupational therapy role at Mater at Home but will continue to work with Mater Education over the next three months as an Education Coordinator for Allied Health. He will work with former Simulation Fellow, Felicity Prebble, to facilitate new and targeted learning opportunities and embed a link between Mater Education and Allied Health.

Cassandra Elsmore 

Physiotherapist, Mater at Home

Early in the pandemic, Cassandra identified the need for additional education and guidelines for home visiting clinicians and services. She was able to address this need during her fellowship by creating educational e-Learning modules and face-to-face simulation educational sessions across a range of Mater at Home visiting services 

“The last 16 months has highlighted to me the importance of embedding an education culture,” she said. 

“Whilst the fellowship has been an opportunity completely different and unexpected to what I anticipated, the skills I have gained and relationships I have built as a result will stay with me in my current and futures roles at Mater.”    

Cassandra will continue to facilitate simulation sessions with Mater at Home staff and other home visiting services within Mater as the need arises, and review and improve on the programs.  

Manisa Ghani

Visiting Scholar 

Dr Manisa Ghani said she gained valuable insights during her time as a Visiting Scholar at Mater Education during her 6-month sabbatical from St Vincent’s hospital in Melbourne. Dr Ghani used her fellowship to develop theoretical understandings and both broaden and deepen her skills as a simulation educator. She said she had built valuable networks at Mater and beyond that will serve to support her in the future as she implements her In-Situ simulation program at St Vincent’s hospital, Melbourne. 

Jacqui Rhodes

Clinical Facilitator, Mater Mother’s Hospital

With COVID-19 continuing to pose a threat to our hospitals, Jacqui’s OptiSim project aimed to establish consistency with hospital front door screening procedures. Jacqui ran simulation testing of the entry screening procedures used at the front doors of the Mater Mothers’ Hospital (MMH) and Mater Hospital Brisbane (MHB). Jacqui’s simulation testing led to several improvements in this procedure, helping make the hospitals safer for patients, visitors and staff. While Jacqui has returned to her role at MMH she hopes to continue working with Simulation and Mater Education, especially as she progresses her Caesarean Section Skin to Skin project. 

The current 2021 Simulation projects are being conducted by Dr Brooke Firman, who is the Neonatology Simulation Fellow and Dr Alison McDougall who is the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Simulation Fellow.

Learn more about the use of simulation in education and how your team can benefit here

Pictured: Mater Education’s 2020-2021 Simulation Fellows, Jacqui Rhodes, Greg Connolly and Cassandra Elsmore with Dr Ryan Frazer.

Not pictured: Manisa Ghani.

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