Edgar Dale developed “The Cone of Experience” in 1969.  He theorized that learners retain more information by what they “do” versus what is heard, read, or observed. Although some of the statistics discussed in the “Cone of Experience” have been argued through the years, one thing remains certain; Adults learn the most by actively doing what they are taught.   This is a core principle of Day in the Life – HTS’s unique simulation-based-testing approach to staff readiness. There are many factors that contribute to the successful facilitation of a “Day in the Life” including scenario writing, cooperation of staff and the executive team, and precise planning by the project team.  Through this process, the hospital aims to prepare staff to deliver safe patient care on day one of operations.

Lynn Aguilera, a Senior Project Manager at HTS, led the team in developing the core structure for “Day in the Life” in 2009.  “We created ‘Day in the Life’ to fill the gap of testing new workflows with a real life feel,” states Aguilera.  With this goal in mind, HTS’s team of experienced clinicians worked together to develop a program that they are proud to facilitate.  Largely based on personal experience in healthcare activations, the team has been perfecting a system that has to date assisted over 60 hospital teams’ transition smoothly and effectively into their new facility.

Moving into a new facility almost always causes anxiety and frustration to staff.  This is largely because of a lack of familiarity with new equipment, systems, and the new work environment.  Lynn recalls her personal experience of moving into a newly-built hospital tower many years ago, “When we moved, our staff had a challenging time finding their way around the unit for at least a month.  It was not the best situation and caused a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.”  In designing “Day in the Life” HTS keeps situations like this in mind and focus on practices that alleviate stress.

Scenarios are written for the staff to test the most common workflows as well as low frequency, high risk events. Workflow testing may include familiarizing staff with supply storage locations, paths of travel, interdisciplinary interactions, nurse call system testing, and are incorporated into scenarios and repeatedly tested over the course of an eight (8) hour day.  These simulations provide important information for the executive team by identifying issues that need to be addressed before successfully opening the new facility. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, an average of about 400 issues are recorded after the first “Day in the Life” event.  These issues are then prioritized, managed, then retested during subsequent “Day in the Life” events.

In responding to the evaluation statement, “This exercise will help me transition into the new facility,” 61% of staff participating in the first “Day in the Life” responded with a “Very Good” or “Excellent” with this number typically increasing to 90% by the second “Day in the Life”.  This supports the concept that the more opportunities staff are given to participate in direct purposeful experiences, the more information they will actually retain. Danielle McCarthy, HTS Project Manager recently had the pleasure of assisting in the successful activation of The North Georgia Health System’s new facility in Braselton.   When asked how it felt to be a part of this activation she replied “It’s comparable to seeing a kid ride a bike on their own for the first time, after having to run beside them and hold onto them while they became comfortable.”  Lynn, feels that same fulfillment knowing that the staff feel more confident and comfortable to provide the best patient care possible.

“Day in the Life” is a fluid process that HTS is continually improving.  This makes Day in the Life an invaluable tool to provide knowledge and confidence through simulation-based-testing to hospital teams.  HTS offers each of its clients a customized “Day in the Life” experience, structured specifically for that facility’s needs.    In turn, HTS is able to grow their tool box to benefit future clients and to strengthen the knowledge-base of their team.  With the gained confidence and lessons learned from the “Day in the Life” experience, staff are able to better serve both their fellow team members and their patients.