Mock Code Pink enhances comfort and skill level amongst clinical staff

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Nearly 10 per cent of newborn babies will require some form of resuscitation at birth and about one per cent will require significant resuscitation. At Trillium Health Partners (THP) that’s about 900 births a year that will require assistance from a team to help newborns breathe on their own as an independent being.

THP saw over 8,700 babies born in 2015 – 2016, more than any other Ontario hospital. All THP staff working within paediatric units are trained in Neo-Natal resuscitation, but when a Code Pink is called, or a paediatric cardiac arrest, adrenaline can run high. Following the call, clinical teams often say that they want to go back and rethink the scenario, feeling that there is always room for improvement.

Knowing this, Dr. Catherine Taylor, a Paediatrician, Neonatologist and the Service Medical Director of the NICU at THP, established a mock Code Pink simulation program. The program provides physicians and clinical staff with the opportunity to experience and practice responding to a Code Pink more often; preparing them for a real-life scenario.
Using a SimNewB®, a high-fidelity training replica of a newborn, Dr. Taylor brings a group together to run through a mock Code Pink. With 11 pre-established scenarios, the team works through the simulation. The session is video recorded with a focus on events, communication, professional staff interaction and reaction to the simulation. Following each session, the team reviews the video and suggestions are made regarding how the teams response could be improved. The simulation is a fantastic opportunity for clinical teams to increase their comfort level and their communication skills with one another while under pressure.
“Dr. Taylor reminds staff at the onset of each mock Code Pink that the purpose is not to assess or evaluate skills,” said Nicole Gaertner, Program Consultant THP. “The purpose is to provide simulated real-life critical care experiences, in a safe environment to allow members of the interprofessional team to further hone their critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and clinical judgment skills.”

Since launching the mock Code Pink in December 2015, the NICU team has seen an improvement in the quality of care for and the safety of our youngest patients.
“There will always be times when you feel that things could have gone better, but that’s why we have this program. If I can get a nurse into training and then back in for a second time before they’ve faced an actual Code Pink, it will only help them run through their process,” said Dr. Taylor who is currently running two trainings a month between THP’s two acute care hospital sites, but hopes to add more in the future.
THP believes that this simulation training is important and incorporates similar mock exercises throughout other departments. The practice enhances skills, as well as team communication and coordination.