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Simulating the realities of northern nursing practice

December 06, 2019
Photo: J Morrow

To update their knowledge and keep their skills sharp, 120 extended role nurses from nine from Community Miyupimaatisiiuun Centres (local health clinics) across Eeyou Itschee participated in their annual training, practicing in a realistic environment at McGill’s Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning

Extended role nurses work in primary care settings where their skills and knowledge save lives and promote wellbeing in Cree communities. Regular and in-depth training is part of the CBHSSJB’s commitment to quality care for the population. 

“In these simulations, we’re able to do hands-on training plus refresh our skills,” said Edith Bobbish, who has worked as a nurse in several communities over her 13-year career with the CBHSSJB. She particularly appreciated the chance to work with colleagues she rarely sees. “We can also learn from each other,” she added.

Staff at McGill and the CBHSSJB Department of Professional Services and Quality Assurance (DPSQA) worked together to develop training scenarios that reflect the reality of the Cree population, resources and culture. 

In one scenario, a trainer acting the part of an anxious father hovered over the mannequin of an infant with a high fever. The nurse questioned him about the baby’s symptoms, demonstrating her ability to follow clinical procedures while being sensitive to the father’s emotions. Behind a one-way mirror, technicians simulated he baby’s cries and vital signs, recording the trainee’s reactions.

In addition to the feverish baby, nurses dealt with high definition mannequins that replicated symptoms such as chest pain and abdominal pain. 

Nurses were eager to practice the vaginal birth scenario. Until recently, women in Eeyou Istchee had to leave their home community to give birth. With birthing services gradually returning to the territory, all health care providers are being trained to deliver babies safely and in a manner consistent with the Eeyou/Eenou culture. 

This year marked the 19th anniversary of the training program, said Nicolas Cardinal, Interim Assistant Director of Professional Services and Quality Assurance-Health, and the first time they had worked at the Steinberg Centre. 

“The educational experience here is amazing,” he said. “We want the best for the Eeyou Istchee population and here we have the best facility to train our amazing nurses.”

The training program is an annual event organized by the DPSQA, which is responsible for ensuring the competence of the nursing professionals under its mandate as well as the quality of the care.