Peds Faculty Teach PALS+ Course

When children are acutely ill or injured, a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Courses like the Pediatrics Advanced Life Support + (PALS+) provider course provide clinicians who care for those children with the skills they need to save lives in the critical first hour.

The most recent PALS+ course was held on March 22-23, 2012, at the UW Health Clinical Simulation Program. Instructors included faculty from the Department of Pediatrics and Anesthesiology, the American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) Emergency Department, and the AFCH Children’s Hospital Emergency Transport Service (CHETA).

Nineteen physicians and one nurse practitioner from all over Wisconsin attended the course. They represented such specialties as pediatrics, hospital medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and urgent care.

The PALS+ course is designed for practicing physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and paramedics who care for children in the prehospital setting, the emergency department, or the inpatient setting. It includes:

  • Lectures on PALS algorithms, updated American Heart Association guidelines, and other related topics;
  • Practical workshops using traditional manikins to teach skills such as CPR, intubation, and airway management;
  • Realistic resuscitation scenarios using interactive, high-fidelity simulation manikins.

The March PALS+ course was the first to incorporate the Simulation Program’s high-fidelity manikins. These manikins “breathe” and have pulses; course instructors can also change the manikins’ vital signs from inside the classroom or from a remote control room. This enhances the realism of the training scenario, and gives participants hands-on experience adjusting to a rapidly changing clinical situation.

“High-fidelity manikins promote more active participation,” said course director Sushant Srinivasan, MD. “The simulations mimic real critical care situations so well that participants get the same sense of anxiety.”

Participant feedback was consistently positive. Attendees commented that the course was “meaty,” and the instructors had valuable “real-world experience” to share.

As for the high-fidelity manikins, one participant said, “Short of actual patients, these are the best for making you actually go through the steps to assess and treat the patient.”