Student Corner: Baylor Simlympics team

While all eyes were turned to the World Cup this summer, five Baylor medical students were focused on an international competition of another sort. They participated in the international Simlympics competition in Poland in June, taking home first prize.

The event pits teams against one another to see how they respond to simulated emergency situations. The Baylor team won the National Simlympics Competition in March, qualifying them for the intenrational contests, which was held as part of the annual meeting of the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine.

The Baylor team members are first-year medical students Kayla Kumm, Amir Nikahd, Jake Valentine and Sam Buck and second-year medical student Shehni Nadeem.

Below is Nikahd’s first-person account of the competition.

The SESAM (Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine) international conference was an incredible event. After our win at the Simlympics competition at the AMSA Conference in March, Dr. Michael Czekajlo of SESAM awarded us an invitation to compete against teams from other countries in Poland. Thanks to Baylor support, we were able to travel to Poznan, Poland where we competed in the first international Simlympics competition.

We competed against teams from Poland, the Netherlands, and France in playoff format. Our first scenario was a middle-aged man who presented to the Emergency Department complaining of indigestion. With this prompt, each member of our team began working in our designated roles. I was responsible for gathering a history and maintaining the airway, Kayla was responsible for performing interventions, and Jake was responsible for ordering and interpreting labs and imaging. Sam was our team leader, and he was responsible for keeping track of how the scenario was progressing as a whole. After an ECG was obtained, and read by Jake to show ST-elevation, the patient became progressively unresponsive. Before long the mannnequin lost a pulse, and Kayla began chest compressions. Sam began keeping time and initiated ACLS protocols to help save our patient. The next several minutes were a whirlwind of compressions, ventilations, and medications. Time was called 10 minutes into our scenario—which felt like both an eternity and only an instant. It was only after time was called that I became aware of the audience and judges in the front row. During the scenario itself there was no time to worry about anything else besides treating the patient.

After each of the four teams competed, we received the great news that Baylor advanced to the finals to compete against the French team for the honor of being Simlympics international champions. I remember us being very anxious at this point—we had traveled a very long way and we were very close to winning it all! Before long it was time for the final scenario— an adolescent male who presented to the Emergency Department with multiple gunshot wounds after an assault. Each of us immediately began tackling tasks, which can only be described as controlled chaos. The patient quickly decompensated, and our rapid trauma assessment revealed an exit wound to the left axilla which was bleeding heavily despite occlusion and other hemostatic strategies. While Kayla and Jake were trying to take control of the bleeding, Sam “called” to notify trauma surgery and requested urgent O- blood from the blood bank. Time was called, and again we left the stage to await the results.

We were scored on both our assessment/treatment, as well as our non-technical skills (communication, team-work, decision making and task management). And after a long deliberation by the judges, Team Baylor was announced first place champions of the first international Simlympics competition at SESAM!

While the competition itself was incredibly fun, we also had an opportunity to experience local culture and we became friends with many of the other students competing from other countries. It was interesting to hear about their unique experiences with medical simulation and education as a whole.

All in all, I am so very grateful for having had the opportunity to travel to Poland and compete with such amazing teammates. It was a blast, and an experience I’ll never forget. We hope to be able to pass this on to future students so that they too may take part.”