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OPENPediatrics Releases Peritoneal Dialysis Simulator

OPENPediatrics is pleased to announce the release of our second virtual simulator, the peritoneal dialysis simulator. The peritoneal dialysis simulator was created in collaboration with a team of nephrologists from the United States and South Africa. This resource offers stand-alone education on all elements of managing a child on peritoneal dialysis, including: assessment of patient and dialysate; monitoring and responding to patient variables and laboratory results; and identifying complications from device manipulations.

The simulator contains three sections:

1. Knowledge Guide: Text and interactive steps to demonstrate how to use the peritoneal dialysis simulator.

2. Tactics: Short problems for the learner to solve.

3. Cases: Clinical scenarios to teach peritoneal dialysis set-up, titration and troubleshooting

The Peritoneal Dialysis Simulator can be accessed as a stand-alone resource in our library and is also part of a curriculum called the Peritoneal Dialysis Simulator Curriculum

The Need

Peritoneal dialysis is used in over half of children with dialyzed end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in developed countries. In developing countries, peritoneal dialysis remains the predominant form of both acute and chronic pediatric dialysis. Novel educational strategies to train healthcare providers across resource settings to perform this life-saving skill must be developed. Additionally, interest in nephrology as a career choice has declined in recent years and medical students report nephrology topics as too complex and lacking in relevance.

Serious gaming, a newly emerging technology, incorporates adult learning theory principles, making it an appealing teaching tool, particularly for complex topics such as peritoneal dialysis. With the peritoneal dialysis simulator, OPENPediatrics aims to overcome current challenges in medical education, scaling knowledge exchange globally and across resource settings and teaching peritoneal dialysis in an engaging, relevant and efficient manner.

The Power of Simulation

The virtual peritoneal dialysis simulator joins OP’s first simulator, the virtual ventilator, as a free simulation resource on the OP site.  The virtual ventilator was released in late 2012 and has been used more than 4,300 times by site visitors from around the world to learn how to operate a mechanical ventilator.  The virtual ventilator provides comprehensive training on mechanical ventilation, including an overview of how to operate a mechanical ventilator, an introduction to common tactics used in managing patients receiving mechanical ventilation, and a series of complete simulated cases. 

In 2015, an instructor at Shinhan University, YoungMin Ko, contacted OP to share how he’d been using the virtual ventilator to train nurses at that school. After learning about the OPENPediatrics virtual ventilator simulator at a conference, Ko knew he had found a training tool unlike any he had seen before.

“It was not difficult to know that the virtual ventilator of OP would be the one for Korean nurses and nursing students to learn how to care [for] patients [on a] ventilator,” Ko said. In March 2015, Ko conducted two three hour training courses for 120 nursing students at Shinhan University using OPENPediatrics to teach students how to care for ventilated patients. Ko and his students found the interactive and dynamic learning experience provided by the ventilator simulator to be a uniquely beneficial tool. The ventilator “covers the process from the VERY beginning to end and everything has great direction on how to use. That, I didn’t see in textbooks.”

The interactivity of the ventilator also encouraged his students to think critically, as Ko added, “the fact that the OP program doesn’t come with answers is very good. I once asked OP for an answer, and the reply was ‘here’s how you can find the answer.’” The virtual ventilator scales training by connecting learners to a community of experts available to answer questions online, but it is designed to encourage active learning and engagement. Ko and his students found the ventilator simulator to be such a powerful learning tool that they recently presented the program at a medical conference in Korea, and plan to offer more training courses in the future.

OPENPediatrics expects the peritoneal dialysis simulator will have similar impact in providing global training for peritoneal dialysis.