Family advisor role enhances paediatric nursing skills fair

May 9, 2018

Earlier this year, a nursing skills fair was held for all Children’s Hospital nursing professionals. The introduction of simulation training and the involvement of the family advisor role made the annual educational offering particularly unique.

In addition to the mandatory training requirements like annual recertification for pumps, and infection control practices, attendees were able to participate in a simulated scenario that provided a realistic hands-on care experience in a safe and supportive learning environment. A key aspect of ensuring the scenario was as close to real-life practice as possible was having a family advisor participate to represent the role of the simulation mannequin’s parent.

Simulation mannequins provide learners with an active, real-time experience where the patient’s health is changing right in front of them and symptoms can worsen, or improve, based on the response of the team. It provides an opportunity for nurses to practice core competencies, flex their critical thinking skills in a high-pressure situation, and apply recent clinical research findings and new learnings to their practice. The inclusion of a family advisor added additional context to the experience.

“Simulation training is so valuable because it provides such a realistic experience, but does so in a safe learning environment,” says Kristen Dove, Clinical Educator, Children’s Hospital at LHSC. “When we started planning the skills fair for this year, we knew we wanted to ensure that our patient and family advisory council was actively involved and creating a family role within in the actual training was ultimately the greatest way for us to accomplish that.”

The inclusion of a family advisor role gave participants the opportunity to provide simulated care delivery in the presence of a concerned parent – allowing them to practice both core competencies for the physical care of the patient while also being an active partner with the parent. It was a fulsome training opportunity for the delivery of patient and family centred care.

After each scenario was complete the clinical educators led a debrief session, allowing the nurses and family advisor to discuss what went well and what could possibly be improved. Most importantly, this debrief provided another opportunity for nurses and family advisors to learn from each other’s unique perspectives and enrich the best practices for patient and family centred care.

For one family advisor that participated in the skills fair the experience was powerful. It not only reinforced their appreciation for the hard work that nurses exhibit every day, they felt it also demonstrated the importance of training in a multidisciplinary environment. If training ensures that everyone has a voice in the care delivery process, it ensures that everyone will have a voice in actual practice.

Dove adds, “Based on the feedback we received, the training sessions were a valuable learning tool for all participants whether they were a new nursing graduate or a 30-year experienced nurse – everyone took something away with them that they will be able to apply to their practice. We would be thrilled to be able to offer this type of comprehensive, experiential learning in future years.”

The simulation training at this year’s skills fair was made possible through a Patient and Family Centred Care Grant focused on education.

The integration of patient and family centred care principles is a key component of hospital Accreditation standards. As such, LHSC is pleased to continue its commitment to the provision of patient and family-centred care, and is in the process of recruiting even more patient advisors to inform a wide range of hospital change initiatives across our clinical areas.

Skills Fair