Dr. Glenn Posner and team at the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre were thrilled to share their passion for simulation-based health education during a recent visit from Canada’s prime minister.
At a February 7 press conference held at the uOSSC, Justin Trudeau announced updates to the government’s plan for health funding to provinces and territories over the next decade.
In attendance at the news event were cabinet ministers Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health; Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health; Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario; Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors; and Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.
The visit was an opportunity for Dr. Posner, the Centre’s newly appointed director, to show the prime minister around one of the busiest and most diverse simulation centres in North America.
Trudeau saw first-hand how the Centre’s world-class facilities train the next generation of health care professionals and allow current professionals to hone their skills and develop new and innovative procedures.
For example, Dr. Posner and team showcased one of the Centre’s theatre-based simulation rooms where interprofessional and interdisciplinary teams are exposed to a scenario and observed as they manage it.
“I introduced him to a nurse educator, an obstetrics resident and an anesthesiology resident who commonly participate together in these types of scenarios,” says Dr. Posner, who also showed off one of the Centre’s high-end manikins and explained how the team teaches crisis resource management skills through simulation.
“I tried to speak to him as one teacher to another, and I think he understood what we are trying to accomplish,” says Dr. Posner.
As a busy obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Posner empathizes with the long days of a prime minister.
“He had a long day negotiating with the premiers and he was probably very tired, but he asked good questions and seemed to understand how cool the stuff we were showing him was,” explains Dr. Posner.
This was not the prime minister’s first trip to the uOSSC, a national and international leader in simulation-based health care education and innovative research—in 2021, Trudeau toured a vaccine clinic held there.
Originally founded in 1996 as the Ottawa Patient Care Simulation Centre, the uOSSC opened in its current location as a shiny new facility with cutting-edge equipment in 2008, becoming one of the largest skills and simulation centres in North America. Born out of a partnership between the University and The Ottawa Hospital, the uOSSC’s mission is to be an international leader in collaborative, simulation-based education and innovative research to enhance quality patient-partnered health care.
“We are TOH and we are uOttawa,” says Dr. Posner. “We have a physical space, but our program extends to the clinical environment (both within the hospital and in the community) where we continue to expand our in-situ simulation patient safety program.”
Now, Dr. Posner is eager to capture that same magic with big plans for the Centre when it moves as part of the opening of the new Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital.
“Simulation is part of our culture now, but there are many new frontiers that I'd like to move into, such as 3D printing for technical skills training and virtual reality for scenario-based training,” he says.
“I'm also excited that we are doing a much better job of representing the diversity of our patient population through our manikins.”
In 2017, a five-year certification from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada placed the Centre in the upper rankings of simulation Centres in Canada. As the College has since sunset the accreditation program, the Centre will commission their own periodic external reviews.
“We still believe in the College’s standards and will strive to continue to meet them, in a less formal way,” says Dr. Posner.
The Centre attracts students, clinicians, fellows and researchers from around the globe. A 50% jump in yearly learners passing through the Centre since 2015 is largely a reflection of two considerations, Posner says.
“Competency-based education for residency has increased postgraduate medical education usage of the Centre,” he explains. “And even more importantly, corporate nursing orientation for new nurses has become a major source of learners.”
The Centre solidified its international renown for excellence in simulation with the production of an array of virtual-reality videos simulating a wide range of COVID-related procedures in 2020, promoting and distributing them widely around the globe.
“The videos played a role during the early part of the pandemic when hospitals around the world were grappling with how to create protocols for dealing with COVID-19 patients,” says Dr. Posner.
The chance to show a world leader around the Centre speaks to its global eminence.
“I love sharing my passion for simulation with anyone who will listen to me,” said Dr. Posner via Twitter.
“And on this day, just for a few minutes, I got to bend the ear of a pretty important guy, which was nice.”
Main photo: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several cabinet ministers pose with members of the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre. L-r: Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health; Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors; Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; Dr. Raman Sohi, Resident, Anesthesiology; Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario; Dr. Sarah Kanji, Resident Physician, Obstetrics & Gynecology; Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Leeann Lemay, Nurse Educator, TOH; Dr. Glenn Posner, Director of the University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre; Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health.
All photo credits: Adam Scotti (PMO).
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