18 Jan 2018 | Improving Leadership & Capability
Leading a project to introduce ‘pop up’ training simulations at the Southern District Health Board (DHB) has earned emergency department registrar, Dr Layla Hehir, an Open for leadership award.
The simulations, which use a mannequin that can be moved around easily, replicate real medical emergencies. They provide an opportunity for staff to prepare for emergency situations and identify areas for improvement, without risk to patient safety.
The Open for leadership awards are part of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s work to build capability and leadership in the health sector. They recognise and celebrate health professionals who demonstrate excellent practice, quality improvement and leadership skills.
Layla was involved in leading a trial of the concept, developing the scenarios and running simulations and feedback sessions. She is part way through a diploma in simulation and wanted to put into practice the theory she had learned.
She approached emergency department consultant, Dr Ohad Dar, who is also Co-director of the Otago Clinical Skills Laboratories, which provides clinical skills training and education to undergraduate students of the Dunedin School of Medicine and Southern DHB clinical staff.
‘Ohad gave me loads of support and the project ended up being a lot bigger than we originally planned,’ says Layla. ‘We formed a simulation working group that has gained its own momentum and is now working on rolling out pop up simulation organisation-wide, which is great.’
Ohad says Layla brought a lot of enthusiasm to the role. ‘Setting up a project can be an uphill battle, so a positive attitude is important. Layla’s ‘can do’ approach helped motivate the team into action.’
Commission deputy chair, Shelley Frost, who presented Layla with her award, says it’s a testament to her passion and drive that she and Ohad were recently recognised for their work on this project with a staff priority award at the Southern DHB innovation awards.
Layla has been involved in other quality improvement projects at the DHB, including one to reduce the number of unnecessary cannulations in the emergency department.
‘A lot of cannulas get put in that then aren’t used, which is a loss of time, money and possible unnecessary pain for the patient. We’ve recently completed an audit of cannula use and put together a group to develop more streamlined guidelines for when to use them.’
Layla received her medical degree in Galway, Ireland in 2015 and came to the Southern DHB a year later. ‘I was looking for something new and planning to stay for a year, but a year and a half later, I’m still here.’
In fact, she has just begun working as a surgical registrar and hopes to be able to use the quality improvement skills she’s gained in her new role.
‘I think they’re applicable no matter what area you work in. I’ve learnt a lot from working in the emergency department that I hope to be able to apply to a surgical role. We’re all working to the same goal.’
She says she’s always been happy to take on extra challenges. ‘It’s part of what drew me to the job. It’s what makes it interesting and keeps it exciting. When you see something that you think could be changed, it’s nice to be able to do something about it yourself and see other people benefit from it.’
She was very excited to win the award. ‘I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was really nice to be nominated, but didn’t think it would go anywhere. When I found out I’d won, I thought it was the best thing ever.’
More information on the Open for leadership awards, including other recipients, is available here.