Purpose for the Program
We will describe an innovative technique for staff completion of annual competencies that will result in enhanced knowledge retention, increased staff engagement, and consolidation of many competencies into one event.
Learning principles indicate that adults learn more when they perceive the knowledge will benefit them in real-life situations. In addition, use of several senses during learning may result in better recall. The more ways an adult learns a particular fact, the more likely they will recall it when needed. In the past, staff have reviewed journal articles, completed written tests, and participated in skills labs for completion of annual competencies. These learning strategies did not support maximum knowledge retention and recall, nor did they engage staff. With this knowledge, our goal was to create an interactive crime scene investigation to provide performance practice, experiential learning, and validate operating room competencies for labor and delivery staff in an efficient and cost-effective manner without compromising patient safety or educational quality.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
The main operating room and our simulation team partnered, realistic supplies were obtained, and a simulated operating room environment was created. Staff were challenged to identify aseptic technique and surgical safety violations, along with safety concerns surrounding infant resuscitative equipment. Additionally, staff were asked to prioritize the felonies identified and include the rationale for their top three safety concerns. Staff appreciated the new and innovative approach to assessing their knowledge. They were fully engaged in this educational offering and began competing with each other to identify as many violations, or felonies, as possible. Following the crime scene investigation simulation, staff were sent a summary listing of all the violations that were evident in the simulated operating room. Interestingly, staff found additional safety concerns that were not originally intended to be incorrect. We successfully engaged both novice and experienced nursing and ancillary support staff. This operating room crime scene investigation learning model presented an entertaining and effective method to complete annual competency assessment.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Through real-world settings, we can facilitate learning and evaluate staff's ability to recognize minor safety issues that often get overlooked and could possibly cause major incidents. Incorporating everyday practice into a simulated learning environment creates a safe place to verbalize safety concerns without the threat of harm to patients. Using adult learning principles, this interactive and innovative learning strategy can be used to focus on patient safety, best practices, and quality improvement.