Oct 15, 2017
Pause & Discuss - The Harms Involved in Improving Patient Safety
Play • 18 min

Safety in simulation – the harms involved in trying to improve patient safety! 


Many healthcare simulation programs are aimed at improving patient safety, and yet these programs also carry their own safety risks – to participants, and to the institutions and patients whose safety we are trying to improve. 

Ann Mullen joined us in this episode of Simulcast to discuss the Foundation for Simulation Safety – an initiative that she and Dan Raemer from Center for Medical Simulation in Boston have developed. 

Ann is the Simulation Center program manager at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Massachusetts, and a nurse by clinical background. 

We discussed the categories of risks inherent in simulation – learner psychological and physical safety, and patient and institutional risks from fake medications, or unintended triggering of hospital responses to simulation activities. Stu Marshall and Cate McIntosh authored a chapter on this topic1 in the Nestel et al textbook recently reviewed on Simulcast

The Foundation website provides details of incidents, and access to labels designed to prevent these errors. Ann and Dan are also trying to use social media to promote this cause and to facilitate sharing stories of adverse events in sim and best practices in preventing them. Check out #keepsimsafe on Instagram and Twitter 

We discussed how perhaps we needed a reporting system for these incidents, and looked at the role of safety criteria in accreditation standards.    

Thanks to Ann for talking to us about an important topic. 




  1. Marshall, S. and McIntosh, C. (2017) Strategies for managing adverse events in healthcare simulations, in Healthcare Simulation Education: Evidence, Theory and Practice (edsD. Nestel, M. Kelly, B. Jolly and M. Watson), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. 
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