Volunteer Simulated Patients (VSP) for Triage Training -Transitioning from traditional paper based training to the use of VSP’s in conjunction with the ETEK, for nurses undertaking triage training

Mrs Melissa White1
1Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat , Australia, 2Univerty Of Melbourne, Melboure, Australia, 3Deakin Clinical School , Ballarat , Australia

In 2013 after training novice emergency nurses in triage for 2 years ,using the current resource in Australia – Emergency triage education kit (ETEK).  I wondered why we use simulation to train nurses in ALS and Resus but still use didactic and paper based technology for triage training. I conducted a literature review and discovered triage simulation was used in the US army training but no hospital based triage training had been developed using simulation. In the absence of an evidence based training program I could adapt to our health service.  Lead to the development of the triage simulation training program for Ballarat Health Services (BHS). Utilising the ETEK and resources provided by the University of Melbourne. Not only did this new simulation activity provide a safe learning environment for the novice nurse transitioning to triage.  The program provided the foundations to expand and support current and new triage staff, building on competence along with confidence. In the ealry stages I used fellow educators to “act” as simulated patients.  Developing 3 simulated patient roles including an abdo pain, chest pain and an infant based on scenarios from the ETEK. The initial program was well received by the post graduate students. Simulation allowed them to feel more confident transitioning to triage.  Eliminating the fear of triaging a real patient.  Limitations to the current program was familiar faces as patients, leading to participants not fully engaging in the SIM. In 2017 the program advanced with the introduction of volunteer simulated patients (VSP). A group of hospital volunteers trained in simulation in conjunction with Deakin clinical school and BHS centre for education and training. This innovative idea eliminated previous limitations, added more depth as the VSP provided a realistic emergency presentation, feedback on they way they were triaged, using a structured feedback tool developed for the program. 5 years on the program continues as part of post graduate training, and for new critical care trained staff who triage using VSP’s. Continuing to receive positive feedback from participants and VSPs. Next step, utilizing the program for ongoing support of triage nurses.

I have been Nursing for 14 years and an Emergency nurse for 12.  I undertook my post graduate diploma in emergency nursing in 2006 at Ballarat health services – emergency department in conjunction with the university of Melbourne.  Over the past 11 years I have transitioned from a CNS, ANUM then my current calling working as the clinical nurse educator in emergency at Ballarat health services for the past 7 years.  During my time as an educator I have develop a love for simulation and have endeavoured to apply it to all aspect of learning relating to emergency.  I have supported this desire of simulation professionally, by completing NHET SIM training. In the future, I plan on undertaking a post graduate qualification in simulation training.   I also work as a Project support office 2 days a week in the EMET (Emergency medical education & training) program funded by ACEM, based at Ballarat Health Services.  This involves organising and assisting in the delivery of simulation & Training to the multi disciplinary team at Ballarat health services emergency department and GP’s who work in urgent care centres in the Grampians region.