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Emergency physician returns to his home province with innovative medical simulation experience

Dr. Luke Marshall, emergency physician at CEHHC, returned to his home province of Nova Scotia in 2019 with his family.

“I come from a military background. My first job as a doctor was a family medicine physician in the military. You see regular clinic patients but there’s always that opportunity to deploy in war zones so trauma and emergency medicine was always an interest.”

At that time, he was also working in emergency part time and assisting with a residency program simulation through the hospital in Barrie, Ontario. “Medical simulation is an evolving tool that allows both medical learners and practicing physicians an opportunity to improve medical knowledge and comfort with scenarios and procedures not often encountered and potentially rarely performed (high acuity, low opportunity also known as HALO events),” explained Dr. Marshall.

When he got out of the military after five years, he pursued emergency medicine full time. “I like the variety - the potential to see really sick people in their time of need. It’s always exciting and really stimulating as there are lots of challenges. You show up and you never know what it’s going to be whether it’s good, bad. You go to work and you have a team of experienced nurses, all working together to try and solve all of these problems, it’s engaging and exciting.”

When Dr. Marshall and his wife, who is also an emergency physician, returned to Nova Scotia there wasn’t a lot going on in terms of simulation at CEHHC. “When COVID hit, there was a group of airway gurus who came out to the regional centres to help health care teams with airway techniques. We realized we needed to start running simulations fairly quickly and get all of our emergency teams getting comfortable with those skills,” he explained.

But the teams did not have the ability to efficiently run simulations. “When we want to do a simulation, we have to find a space, book it and it takes a lot of time logistically,” explained Dr. Marshall. Dr. Marshall and his team requested support from the Colchester Hospital Auxiliary to fund a dedicated space and purchase advanced equipment including a patient simulator to run the program efficiently. The auxiliary approved the request so work is now well underway to create a dedicated space that features a mockup trauma room and a viewing room that should be ready this summer.

The medical simulation will train staff to prepare for high acuity situations. This program will be an attractive feature for medical trainees considering CEHHC and the Northern Zone for their future residency positions.

“I am just happy to be back seeing patients, just happy to be back in my home province, and remembering how nice people are here and how different it is to other parts of the country.”

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