Part 2: Mastery learning to reduce error risk
By: Bonnie Hutchinson
7 Key Points from Part 1
Most everybody recognizes that health care practitioners ought to be in top form when they’re on the job. In health care practice, the stakes are so high there’s zero tolerance for error.
2. However, no human being can always be in top form. We know that with the best of intentions, even the most expert and conscientious health care practitioners can make errors. In fact, after heart disease and cancer, the third highest cause of death in North America is medical error. Nobody wants this.
3. It’s possible to error-proof your performance even in challenging conditions. Two components that influence performance are task difficulty and ability.
4. Task difficulty. Among the challenges and rewards of health care practice is that tasks are often complex and difficult. As the difficulty of tasks increases, you can keep performing tasks correctly and successfully for the safety and well-being of patients as long as you can maintain your ability. But there’s a catch.
5. Ability. Health care environments come with challenges that can affect your ability – pressure, time constraints, high mental workload, fear, embarrassment, feelings of being judged on performance,
distraction, and information chaos. These factors are known to affect medical practitioners’ abilities negatively. However, if the task difficulty does not increase too much, you can still perform tasks correctly and successfully, for the patient’s safety and well-being.
6. Error zone. Medical errors occur when the practitioner’s ability has decreased due to challenges in the environment and task difficulties have increased due to patient characteristics or the complexity of
the medical task. Given the realities of the healthcare environment and the fact that no human being can be optimum all the time, it is almost certain that you will encounter high-risk-of-error circumstances at some point in your career.
7. Embed abilities to reduce risk. It is possible to embed your skills and abilities so deeply in your brain and body that no matter what is happening around you, no matter what may be going on in your life,
no matter the complexity of the task, your core professional skills and abilities rise to the occasion. You can do what needs to be done, correctly and successfully, for the patient’s safety and well-being.
Part 2: It’s not magic, it’s mastery learning
In health care and in other fields, the science of peak performance enables practitioners to operate at optimum levels in the face of external challenges, even in moments when they are not at their personal best.
You may have had some of those moments yourself, when you surprised yourself by what you were able to do under adverse conditions. You may have observed the best people in your profession operating at that super-level. As a dedicated professional, you probably want to reach that level of consistent mastery yourself.
It’s not magic. There is a specific, science-based, research-proven, systematic step-by-step method of learning that can take you to that level of peak performance. It’s called mastery learning and it’s within your reach.
Recognize – simulation training you can download to your phone or tablet – is designed to develop an essential component of patient care so that in times of high task difficulty in high-pressure environments (in other words, in your regular daily professional life!), you can still perform impeccably.
Hone Virtual Education created Recognize to deal with the fact that health care providers are currently limited in their ability to train and prepare effectively for difficult, high-pressure patient interactions.
Capital intensive facilities under high-demand combined with an ever-increasing work demand severely limit effective the number of simulation training opportunities for students. Even fewer on-going simulation training opportunities are available for registered practitioners. Meanwhile, practitioners are constantly bombarded with internal and external pressures that can impact their ability.
Recognize is a series of simulation modules that you can download. Using augmented reality enabled smartphones, users are able to engage in immersive simulation learning, on demand.
Co-founder Ben Ploner explains the underlying logic this way:
“Emergency practitioners are expected to perform their duties regardless of the situation or environment they’re in, and regardless of the factors weighing down their cognition as if those factors don’t exist. It’s as if human beings are relentlessly rational machines and their internal state has no effect on how they interact with the world, how they conduct themselves, or how they make decisions.
“Interestingly, these human factors have only recently garnered attention. In fact, in 2002 Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics for proving that human irrationality affects their decisions. Before that, the entire field of academic economics assumed that human beings were self-contained, not susceptible to external influence, and entirely rational. These beliefs shaped the economic policies of nations.
“So if we take it for granted that such monumental shifts in how we view ourselves and each other take time to disseminate widely, a revolution is at hand – a revolution in how we understand ourselves and a revolution in the tools we use to reinforce and guarantee that our humanity isn’t a liability when it comes time to do important things.
“Recognize is just such a tool. It enables dedicated health care providers to create such a strong set of core illness identification skills that your ability to identify accurately and quickly what is wrong with your patient won’t be shaken as easily as it otherwise may have been. This leads to better patient outcomes, greater confidence, and a happier career.”
Each Recognize simulation module follows the same step-by-step mastery-learning process that enables star athletes to stay focused on their game in front of 100,000 screaming spectators; that enables a pianist to play from memory a perfect rendition of the most challenging and intricate 40-minute concerto; and that enables ordinary people to perform extraordinary feats in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances.
K. Anders Ericsson, Ph.D., the man who more than anyone else has contributed to the field of peak performance, says this about mastery learning for medical procedures:
“Studies of mastery learning show that trainees’ skill in performing medical procedures can be greatly improved... by providing the trainees with simulator training that provides immediate feedback and opportunities to repeatedly perform until they reach an objective criterion.”
Recognize simulation learning modules provide you with immediate feedback and opportunities to practice repeatedly until you reach mastery skill level – exactly the steps identified in Ericsson’s mastery learning research. The modules are intended to…
Decrease mental workload during the initial stages of patient contact, improve your situational awareness, and improve patient safety;
Allow you to build a mental diagnostic cue “pattern recognition database” more quickly than is otherwise possible;
Enable you to develop accurate mental representations of your own performance;
Decrease your performance anxiety and workplace stress by improving confidence.
Find out more
The first Recognize simulation modules will be released early in 2019. In the meantime, you can…