Students identify hospital horrors

Patient safety targeted by annual event

Students use a simulation dummy to educate themselves on dangers.
Students use a simulation dummy to educate themselves on dangers.

Students walked into what appeared to be a normal hospital setting — beds and surrounding curtains separated the patients lying in bed, except these patients weren’t real; they were simulations that coughed, talked and breathed.

The dummies were used as part of the third annual “Room of Horrors” event held yesterday as part of the Canadian Patient Safety Awareness Week.

Groups were made up of health sciences students from different faculties and specialties and each team played a form of an “eye spy” game, noting all the possible patient safety hazards in the room.

Their scores were later added up with the top teams receiving prizes.

“The whole idea behind it was to bring to people’s [awareness] the ideas behind patient safety,” said Jan McVeety, patient safety officer at Queen’s Joanna Briggs Collaboration (QJBC), a patient safety advocacy organization.

A study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that of the 2.5 billion annual hospital admissions in Canada there are 185,000 that result in an unintended patient injury, death or disability due to health care management mistakes.

“Communication is one of the biggest issues. When things go wrong, quite often they go wrong around the way we communicate or what we fail to communicate,” McVeety said. “So by working with each other inter-professionally, we hope to kind of break down those barriers.”

The event is run through the QJBC in partnership with the School of Nursing, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Accreditation Canada.

Organizers believe the “Room of Horrors,” which first took place in 2009, was the first event of its kind. Initially, mostly nursing students attended. Since then, event organizers have shifted their focus to students from a wider variety of backgrounds and schools.

Although issues of patient safety have started to be actively integrated into life sciences schools, the event offers an opportunity for students to gain a more hands on experience, McVeety said.

“One of the big issues in patient safety and certainly once people get out in the work environment is the fact that they’re not only working with fellow people in their own profession,” she said. “It’s important to be able to go out and work together to discover issues and I think that one of the things is also understanding that everybody brings something different to the patients’ bedside”.

Participant Kayla Wellum, MSc ’14 said that she enjoyed working with her partner, who came from another department.

“A lot of things I wouldn’t pick up on she did and I really learned a lot from her.”


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