Project Lead(s): Patricia Livingston
Health professionals training in resource-poor settings have few role models and limited exposure to high standards of practice. The work environment is stressful, with high clinical loads, little guidance and scarce resources.
Simulation, common in western countries, replicates clinical experiences without patient risk, but remains uncommon in lower-income countries. Rwandan medical and nursing training previously relied upon practice on real patients, with minimal direct supervision and passive classroom learning.
Implemented in Rwanda, the project team developed the Faculty of Medicine Simulation and Skills Centre at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali to teach resuscitation, teamwork, communication and advanced clinical skills using low-tech simulation.
The project was a partnership between the University of Rwanda and the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society International Education Foundation.
Some skills are difficult to teach in the operating theatre or in a classroom, but comparatively easy with simulators.
The thinking is that the robust learning environment will train healthcare professionals in essential clinical skills without risk to patients and will improve patient safety and save lives.
Results showed the feasibility and acceptability of using simulators in a Rwandan University.
Over 13 months, the centre provided 2,377 learning encounters and 822 hours of training to 900 Rwandan healthcare professionals.
Multidisciplinary users include anesthesia, surgery, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and nursing.
Participant feedback indicates a high level of satisfaction, with the cultivation of a long-term relationship and the sense of partnership being key.
This experience validates the assertion that simulation can be applied in low-income jurisdictions by offering an inexpensive, flexible and practical form of experiential learning that can be tailored to suit local needs.
Work on the project has been disseminated through publications and conferences, including the Pan African Medical Journal.