Simulation in the time of COVID 19
The Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), FFP3 (filtering face piece-3), COVID, shielding, powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), donning, doffing... are aA plethora of words and acronyms little known to the simulation community which have been added to our lexicon. A year ago the pre-conference editorial referred to the challenges of an ageing population, complex treatments, limited resources, and out of hospital care. To those we must now add a pandemic which continues to have a colossal impact on society. The world has momentarily been paralysed in order to find strategies to minimise and control the spread of the virus. The economy of every country has suffered as our way of living, working, travelling, and doing business changed. The aims were to minimise the loss of life and not overwhelm the healthcare system. While many “routine” simulation sessions have decreased or even ceased, simulation- based education (SBE) which is directly relevant to dealing with the particulars of an infectious agent has greatly increased. In one of the author’s own hospital, simulation was used to prepare healthcare staff for doffing and donning personal protective equipment (PPE), proning ventilated patients, optimising patient pathways and much more. The pandemic has, in many ways, forced the simulation community to put its money where its mouth is. Years of extolling the benefits of simulation in terms of upskilling, rapid cycle learning and resilience was now put to the test. Even people who were slightly skeptical about SBE became advocates of “trying things out in a safe environment” and encouraged the delivery of training sessions during which clinicians could practise to ensure their own safety and that of their colleagues.