E. Bazgerova, S. Kalna, J. Blazkova, V. Svobodová

St. Anne's University Hospital Brno (CZECH REPUBLIC)
In the Czech Republic the education of nursing assistants is based on acquiring theoretical knowledge and practical training of nursing skills. Although theoretical classes are very important, students often have difficulty to apply their knowledge in practice in a hospital environment. Simulation education is an innovative method that builds a strong link between theory and practice. The method is based on role playing in simulated situations. A student is confronted with a standardized patient represented by an actor, who is playing his or her role according to a semi-structured scenario prepared by psychologists. In order to make the situation more realistic the actor is allowed to modify the scenario to some extent. During a debriefing that immediately follows the experience the student receives feedback not only from observing professionals but also from other participating students and actors. Individual scenes alternate with corresponding debriefing sessions, allowing participants to analyze situations and providing reinforcement of good communication practices. An audio visual recording is made from the whole session, which serves as a base for feedback as well as for subsequent education.

One of the most problematic areas in health care in the Czech Republic is communication with patients. For that reason we have decided to build a simulation center in St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno. In our pilot program for future nursing assistants we have focused on improvement of communication skills. For the first time in the Czech Republic, we have used standardized patients represented by professional actors. We have created semi-structured scenarios for training adequate communication with jovial, depressive and aggressive patients. There have been 12 blocks of simulation courses carried out, attended by 83 students from affiliated nursing schools during three months. It follows from a survey (58 returned questionnaires) that 69% of students reevaluated their attitude towards communication with patients, 83% students would like to have simulation education added to the curriculum, and 85% of students wish to participate in simulation courses again. Based on the evaluation, 93% of students perceived the simulation courses very positively. This very encouraging feedback assured us of being on the right way. With the experience gained from the pilot program, we started a new cycle of simulation education in September 2013. During the following two years we are going to spend 180 hours of teaching communication skills for nursing schools students and 160 hours for nursing schools teachers. We have added new scenarios to our program, such as communication with handicapped, hysteric, child and senior patients. We are also considering simulation courses for health care professionals as well as general public interested in communication skills. The obvious benefit of simulation education is an improved ability of future nursing assistants to effectively communicate with patients which is crucial for high-quality health care.