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Perinatal Educator Kerrie Burress (left) during the Critical Care OB course training even- here participating in an obstetrics sepsis simulation exercise

In November 2016, Perinatal Educator Kerrie Burress was able to attend a Critical Care Obstetrics Conference with support from the Foundation’s Perinatology Education Fund. She said it was the first conference attended with hospital support in 10 years, and that “By attending this course, as an educator,  I feel more empowered, prepared and knowledgeable to bring back to UCHealth Memorial Hospital similar simulation addressing high OB acuity situations that occur infrequently but bear the most significant and poor clinical outcomes.” Burress additionally commented that “continuing education is vital for all our nursing staff; it helps them keep skills up-to-date, learning the newest research, technology, and techniques”.

Burress is a perinatal clinical educator and leads training exercises that simulate obstetrical emergencies. Simulation and drill based learning provides opportunities for nurses to test their technical skills and is the best educational tool for filtering out the unexpected and fostering an environment of discovering opportunities for improvement.  Simulation exercises also test in real-time how team members function together and communicate with one another, areas continually identified as a leading reason for poor perinatal event outcomes.  Through briefing, running simulation exercises and debriefing the event, team members get to see a far wider picture of a clinical problem. It also helps reinforce how to perform emergency interdisciplinary interventions that will improve care delivery which ultimately improves patient outcomes.

According to Burress, further utilization of the critical care concepts she learned will be integrated into future courses for Women’s Services division for topics with serious patient safety outcomes in pregnancy related to sepsis, pulmonary hypertension, blood clotting disorders, preeclampsia and hypertensive crisis in pregnancy, acute hemorrhage events and diabetic ketoacidosis.

The generosity of donors to the Education Fund improves healthcare in our community, not only our UCHealth Memorial Hospital Women’s Service division but also for surrounding southern Colorado healthcare facilities through outreach education.