UC Davis Emergency Drugs residents win SimWars competitors

A team of UC Davis Air Force residents knocked out residents from naval, air force, and army programs across the country in a military-medical simulation

On April 8, 2021, UC Davis Emergency Medicine Residency program emergency medics participated in a head-to-head competition against military emergency medicine residents from across the country. The competition called “SimWars” was organized by Lieutenant Colonel of the Air Force, Dr. Roderick Fontenette, assistant program director at UC Davis Health.

“The SimWars competition is a competition against military emergency medicine residents from across the country – they are Army, Air Force and Navy residents,” said Fontenette.

The competition was part of the annual Government Services Symposium organized by the Government Services Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The SimWars competition offers residents from all over the country and from all branches of the military the opportunity to compete against each other in simulated patient scenarios. This year, more than 30 residents from seven teams took part in the SimWars. Each participating team, including the UC Davis Air Force team, consisted of emergency medicine residents, varying from first to fourth year residents, as well as registered nurses and respiratory therapists.

This year’s competition and conference differed from previous years in that they had to be hosted remotely online. Each team started from their home campus with scenarios written by Fontenette and the simulation centers at their home university. Due to these technical limitations, some schools had to drop out and, according to Fontenette, reduce the number of teams from nine to seven.

The simulated scenarios have been designed to resemble situations that military doctors are likely to encounter on the battlefield, but that civilian doctors typically do not face.

“They were real cases,” said Fontenette. “It was a mass casualty event with multiple patients coming in. The first patient came in after stepping on an IED, had traumatic amputations, had to be intubated, changed mental status, most likely a traumatic brain injury. Then the other patient came in and penetrated the gunshot wound in the left chest with 13 other patients. Just like you would take care of the patients in Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa, you had to take care of your patients because they are all military and I wanted to make sure they had military scenarios. “

To complete these scenarios, each team had to leverage their facility’s simulation labs and use high-fidelity manikins that “can generate pulses, heart rates, bleeding, sweat, vomiting, and speaking,” said Dr. Ian M. Julie, an associate professor of emergency medicine and medical director of the simulation center at UC Davis, via email. These high fidelity dolls were ideal for this type of simulation because they could be programmed to meet the requirements of the SimWars scenario.

“If you want to practice cutting open a chest and repairing a broken heart, you need an animal model,” Julie said via email. “But if you want dozens of medical students to practice assessing a very ill asthma patient in need of diagnosis, medication, and intubation, […] A puppet can do it repeatedly, in the same way each time, with no ethical dilemmas. ”

These simulation manikins made it possible for every team across the country to have a patient with the same vital signs who responded equally to all interventions. UC Davis residents completed and filmed their scenarios at the UC Davis Health Center for Simulation and Education Improvement. During the pandemic, the center was modified to include virtual learning so it has all the equipment needed to take part in the SimWars and record every step of the way with zoomable workstations and wall-mounted cameras.

Air Force Capt. Dr. Jasmine Neeno, a third-year resident emergency medical doctor at UC Davis, was the team leader on the UC Davis team. Neeno led the team to victory that year, narrowly knocking out the Medical College of Georgia Army team.

“We did a really good job communicating and listening to suggestions and advice when we had difficult patient situations. I think that ultimately led us to victory,” said Neeno. “[All teams] practice similar medicine but I think the difference was that I felt like we worked better as a team. ”

As UC Davis residents celebrate their victory this year, they look forward to returning to a face-to-face conference and battling it out for the title again next year.
Posted By: Justin Weiner – science@theaggie.org

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