We want to feel like we’ve performed a high-risk, low-frequency procedure many times before. Thanks to our simulation lab, we have.

It’s part of the Boston MedFlight culture to constantly learn, refine, and improve. Our patients are so sick that we need to keep our skills as sharp as we possibly can. We can’t overtrain.

Our simulation lab gives us a unique opportunity to exercise all the things most important to the quality of our care in a perfectly safe environment. We practice clinical procedures, decision making, critical thinking and teamwork. The experience is realistic in every detail. We work exactly the same way on our high-tech manikins (they have blood pressures, they talk, have vital signs, and can be intubated among a myriad of other procedures) as we do on real patients. But the environment is educational and we can focus on learning, unlike a real mission where we must totally focus on the patient.

We know it’s worth the investment. Sometimes a team returns from a mission where they had to perform a high-risk, low-frequency procedure saying, “We just practiced that a couple of weeks ago.” Or, “It was just like the simulation case.”  You can’t overestimate the importance of the confidence factor that comes from practice.

“Our program is designed for teams who are already performing at the top of their field. We have people who have been doing MedFlight transports for 20 years. Our simulations have to be incredibly creative, realistic and challenging if they’re going to learn anything new from them.”

Michael Frakes, Director of Clinical Care and Organizational Quality

Take the recent simulation of a terrible highway crash. Re-enacted in one of our hangar bays, a pickup truck had gone off the road and into the woods. Black plastic across the doors turned day into night. The recording of a chain saw made the scene even more chaotic and real. The unusual twist that challenged the seasoned team was that the two victims lay on opposite sides of the pickup. This forced our nurse and paramedic, accustomed to working side by side, to learn how to communicate and support each other even though they were working on two patients independently and couldn’t see what the other was doing.

At the end of the day, every day, Boston MedFlight is committed to making sure we do everything we can to provide the very best critical transport care to a diverse group of very, very sick patients. Our simulation lab is a big part of that commitment.