For the last 4 years we've attended IMSH and unfortunately this year, things didn't work out the way we planned. As I am sitting at home I'm thinking about how "failure" and the best laid plans unfold and how that applies to simulation.
In aviation, they have a backup system for every system. What happens when multiple backup systems fail? A fatal crash or crash landing may occur. Pilots use simulation to get more experience under their belt and to go through worst case scenarios. Even with simulations where multiple backup systems may fail, a tragedy may occur. The role of these types of simulations is to build resilience and have individuals feel failure. Resilience occurs when despite failures, individuals and teams make the best of an un ideal situation. If no lives are lost or injured, then we have to understand the impact to the dynamics between individuals in relationships. How team members respond to failure is a key thing to observe and as a leader, we need to keep team members safe as some emotional responses to fear may be anger or violence. This is seen in healthcare all too frequently.
This week I experienced failures and worst case scenarios. I'm delighted to say that no lives were lost on our team this week but my 3 year old son had surgery on Monday and is taking much longer to recover. Due to his challenging recovery, our booth #1111 and my attendance at IMSH2020 are "failures". Throughout this past week there were many ups and downs. I expressed my frustration and anger to my support system at home, with friends and at work. I was angry at the lack of instruction from the Urology clinic. I was frustrated at how much nursing falls on caregivers with little training. I was tired since my 3 year old, who was in way too much pain, was being a challenging patient. On top of that since I found out about the surgery, I was in a lot of pain personally with a nonstop tension headache and sore back having to carry a 50lb 3 year old around for a week.
The supportive conversations I've had over the last week have helped to calm my emotions and focus on a small little win that I needed that hour or that day. As a CEO and project manager you can imagine I would have multiple backup plans, make decisions with not all the information, have additional resources available and I did. To my surprise, multiple of my backup systems failed! To my luck, not all of them failed, so some of my support system are on site at IMSH making the best of an un ideal situation!
When I take on any role I like to think that I am devoted. This leads me to feel frustrated that I cannot play my role this week at the conference. I need to give special thanks to:
1) Rachel Umoren, my vice Chair for the Serious Games and Virtual Environments (SGVE) Section! She's leading the charge on site at the show. We are celebrating 10 years of the Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade and Showcase within SimVentors! We are also celebrating becoming a Section!
2) The IMSH Staff for both the Exhibit Hall Support as well as the SGVE Arcade and Showcase that are kicking off this evening.
3) Jonathan Tieh, our partner at Siemens Healthineers. He's onsite and will be meeting with our customers and collaborators.
There are a couple of lessons I want to leave you with:
1) "Failure" often has amazing outcomes that you would have never imagined. You definitely learn a lot and understand your relationships, your team and ultimately yourself a lot better.
2) Spend time to walk through worst case scenarios with your patients' caregivers. If I would have been told: 1) Take 2 weeks off and if he's himself after 3 days then bonus! 2) Your son may need stronger pain medication and we can get it to him easily from 9-5 from Monday to Thursday without you having to cart him into the Emergency Room in the days after surgery 3) Your son may have trouble using the bathroom and may not be able to walk for 7-10 days 4) Your son may experience the following complications and this is how you know they are happening. 5) etc...
3) Simulations or nursing training for caregivers is a great business idea as not all caregivers are good at it. This is becoming more and more of a need with the pressure of bringing costs down and the cost to stay in the hospital.
4) For anyone who is a team member, prepare to take the lead in case someone on your team "fails". Ask the team member responsible about details, timelines, etc so that if you have to play a new part, you are ready.
5) Compassion and Surrender are some of the best tools that I've learned to turn Worst Case Scenarios and "Failures" into Resilience.
Since I've gotten a few questions about my little guy, he's recovering slowly and I think we turned a corner last night. I'm still trying to get him back to being able to do some basics like using the bathroom without screaming, sitting up and walking. I have some space to rest and to support remotely over the next few days during nap time or when I can have a family member come by for a couple of hours. We are on day 6 post surgery.
Some also might ask me about a PeriopSim demo. Unfortunately we don't have one on site at the moment but we'd be happy to book you some time with our Travelling PeriopSim VR Kit!
Thank you for all your devotion to Simulation in Healthcare! I hope you have a delightful time at the show and are able to bring some great learnings back to your teams!
I'd also like to give a shout out to Health Scholars with their amazing funding announcement! We are seeing a lot of investment coming into this area of education both from VCs and Strategic Investors. It's always inspiring to be part of a growing field.
Angela Robert CEO