The Communication through Simulation program is designed to increase awareness and provide strategies for general workplace communication competence in Ontario’s health force. Based on research, sound theoretical frameworks, and informed by practitioners, the program uses simulations to emulate authentic workplace interactions, with dynamic, real time feedback from trained and qualified facilitators and simulated clients. This allows participants to practice the skills in a safe space before putting them to use in real life.
Originally designed and piloted for in-person delivery, the onset of COVID-19 meant the team needed to adapt the curriculum to be delivered virtually while maintaining a high level of engagement and opportunity to refine learned skills through live simulations. By leveraging video conferencing technology, and a custom-built Touchstone Institute virtual simulation dashboard, the team was able to emulate synchronous in-person programming in a virtual setting. The virtual pilot occurred in March and the team’s efforts were rewarded with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants and facilitators. This successful pilot means that the program can be delivered just as effectively in a virtual environment.
Analysis of Pilot 2.0 from our evaluator shows that 100% of participants felt that the program had increased their awareness of effective communication strategies for the healthcare setting, including listening without judgement, asking clarifying questions, and conflict resolution. The evaluation also concluded that confidence in skills improved just as much virtually as they did with the in-person program.
Touchstone Institute is currently working on an implementation plan to offer Communication through Simulation as a core learning program, with plans to administer two more sessions before March 2022. Stay tuned to learn when registration for the next administration will open.