SCCM Educational Programs Bind Worldwide Ties

2014 - 4 August - Ethics in Critical Care
The Society's efficacious partnerships with international peer societies are explored in this informative article.

Education is a cornerstone of the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) mission to improve care for the critically ill and injured worldwide. The Society’s Fundamentals programs -- Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS), Pediatric Fundamental Critical Care Support (PFCCS) and Fundamental Disaster Management (FDM) -- help fulfill this aim, offering live courses in more than 50 different countries. New self-directed, online components of the Fundamental courses also offer more flexibility and convenience.
Most recently, the release of the PFCCS second edition textbook and accompanying course have opened new doors for those seeking to gain fundamental knowledge on the initial management and transfer of a child.

As the Society’s vast library of multiprofessional educational offerings expands and becomes increasingly accessible to a global audience, so too do opportunities for the leadership to build and strengthen relationships.

Growing Relationships in China

Three PFCCS courses were held at Zhejiang University Children's Hospital (ZUCH) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, training more than 80 nurses and physicians. Courses catered to students’ needs, with options to take didactic lectures in a Chinese-only, English-only or Chinese-English hybrid format.  A textbook in Simplified Chinese was provided; PFCCS second edition will also be translated into Spanish and Japanese. 

“Participants were very enthusiastic about the learning format. Many students were only familiar with learning from lectures and were excited to participate in skill stations,” noted Mudit Mathur, MD, who served as course consultant.

The course marks a growing partnership between SCCM and its Chinese critical care colleagues. The Society has been working closely with the Chinese Society of Critical Care Medicine in Beijing on numerous projects in support of the organizations’ mutual missions of improving the care of the critically ill and injured. 

These initiatives and other ongoing outreach efforts in China are being managed by professionals in our Beijing office. SCCM first established an ongoing presence in October 2012 with professional association managers who are Chinese nationals, speaking the language and ensuring the Society’s appropriate   integration with local cultural and business practices.

In May, SCCM leaders attended the 8th Congress of the Chinese Society of Critical Care Medicine in Chongqing. The Society was among the supporters of the conference, which has grown to include more than 8,000 attendees from throughout China and the world. SCCM President J. Christopher Farmer, MD, FCCM, presented on various topics, including sepsis, hypothermia in cardiac patients, the role of the intensivist as an ICU director and leader, and the evolving practice of critical care. SCCM President-Elect Craig M. Coopersmith, MD, FCCM, spoke on acute gut injury and sepsis.

While attending the Congress, leaders from both organizations met and agreed to partner on long-term projects, including suggesting content, identifying delegates and sponsorships for future meetings and developing train-the-trainer programs that include translated course materials. “It was a great privilege to interact with our critical care colleagues from China, to compare notes, and to plan mutually beneficial education programs that we can accomplish together,” said Dr. Farmer. “Their critical care community is vibrant, motivated, and is expanding at a very rapid pace.”

“Ultimately, we all want what is best for our patients and their families. There are multiple commonalities in our shared vision of giving the Right Care , Right NowTM. Each society has a wealth of expertise on the optimal clinical care of critically ill and injured patients,” added Dr. Coopersmith. “We are all dedicated to educating our members and training the next generation of critical care professionals. We have the opportunity to share expertise to strengthen what each of us does best and to cross cultural divides and learn from our diverse backgrounds.”

Training Military Personnel

The release of the second edition PFCCS program has prompted other “firsts,” including the first all-military PFCCS course at the United States Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan. Physicians, nurses, paramedics, and respiratory therapists must be prepared to care for the critical care needs of children affected by natural disasters, humanitarian crises, and counterterrorism warfare.  Col. Daniel Bruzzini, MD, from Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and his pediatric intensivist team understood this need and helped bring the PFCCS course to more than 60 Army, Navy, and Air Force military healthcare personnel.

"We see critically ill children in our ER and while deployed.  This course provides the training needed to care for them,” said attendee and emergency room nurse Lt. Cmdr. Tony Torres.

"It is good to keep one's pediatric critical care skills current," said Navy pediatric nurse practitioner Cmdr. Elisabet Prieto.  Skill stations provided "hands-on" practice in managing pediatric sedations, ventilator management, pediatric radiograph interpretation, and pediatric transport.  Appropriate  simulators were used to integrate and apply lessons learned.

 "I wish I had this course before I deployed,” said Air Force Capt. Debbie Dorsey, who served as a flight nurse at Camp Bastion in  Afghanistan. 

Each PFCCS student was awarded 20 hours of continuing healthcare education hours by the military education network.  More than $500,000 in educational training funds were saved by having an all-military faculty go overseas to teach the course.  Most importantly, PFCCS graduates acquired key pediatric critical care knowledge and skills that will someday benefit a severely ill or injured child. 

The Society continues to have a global influence on critical care by fostering partnerships and growing its international educational agenda.

“Critical illness knows no geographic boundaries,” noted Dr. Coopersmith. “There are critically ill patients in every city and every town across the entire world. The Society has a well-deserved reputation for developing outstanding educational programs. The more providers we can touch with our educational offerings, the more patients we can help. It makes little sense for every organization to create its own educational material on the same subject. Using our proven educational offerings, we can partner with other international societies and offer [courses] to their membership, using instructors from both SCCM and the local society.

“Our founders envisioned SCCM as a truly global society, and our partnerships with international peer societies is a major step toward realizing this vision of working together worldwide to assure the best outcomes for patients, regardless of geography,” concluded Dr. Coopersmith.