(L-R) John Peacock, Grace Guvernator, Shane Appel, Joseph Moffitt, Rishi Goel, Joseph Ponce
(L-R) John Peacock, Grace Guvernator, Shane Appel, Joseph Moffitt, Rishi Goel, and Joseph Ponce

McGovern Medical School bested seven medical schools across Texas to place first in “Sim Wars,” an emergency medicine simulation competition.

“The Simulation Competition is important because it allows us to practice the skills needed to save lives without an actual patient’s life hanging in the balance,” said first-year McGovern Medical School student Joseph Ponce. “It fosters an ideal environment in which students can learn to effectively communicate, practice real-life procedures and interventions, and become familiar with emergency protocols like Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) algorithms, advanced airway management, and timely medical and surgical intervention.”

(L-R) Heather Guvernator performs a physical exam while Joseph Moffitt oversees airway management on the patient.
(L-R) Grace Guvernator performs a physical exam while Joseph Moffitt oversees airway management on the patient.

McGovern Medical School’s team included first-year students in the Emergency Medicine Interest Group:  Rishi Goel, Grace Guvernator, Joseph Moffitt, John Peacock, and Joseph Ponce and fourth-year student coaches Shane Appel and Alexander Smith.

“As a medical student entering into Emergency Medicine, it is important to engage in both active learning and leadership-building activities,” said McGovern Medical School fourth-year student and coach of the team Shane Appel, who matched into the Emergency Medicine Residency at Penn State, Hershey Medical Center. “There is no better way than simulation to focus on both of these. By engaging in simulation, our group has recognized the benefits of the simulation experience and plans to sustain a passion for it within the Emergency Medicine Interest Group at McGovern Medical School.”

John Peacock acts as the team lead, monitoring the vitals and coordinating the healthcare interventions of the medical team.
John Peacock (L) acts as the team lead, monitoring the vitals and coordinating the health care interventions of the medical team.

In the Sim Wars competition, a four to five-person team has 8 minutes to complete a medical scenario in a simulated clinical environment with mock ER bay, full vital monitoring, medical laboratory analysis, radiological imaging, and medical/procedural-based interventions. The team must use their skills and judgement to assess the situation, make a quick diagnosis, and provide appropriate care and treatment on a patient simulator that acts, sounds, and looks like a real human. A physician panel judges each team on their quality of medical treatment, teamwork, and communication skills to determine the winner.

(L-R) Joseph Moffitt performs role of airway management, Joseph Ponce as labs/imaging consultant, and Grace Guvernator's job is physical exam.
(L-R) Joseph Moffitt performs role of airway management, Joseph Ponce as labs and imaging consultant, and Grace Guvernator’s performs a physical exam.

Teams compete head-to-head, two teams at a time in an elimination-style competition, blind to each other’s performance, and judges score the teams on a variety of criteria. The winning teams from each round advance to the final and compete for the title.

Eight teams competed from medical schools across Texas in this year’s Emergency Room Simulation Competition “Sim Wars” at the annual Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP) Connect 2017 Conference last Saturday, April 1 in Grapevine, Texas.

McGovern Medical School’s team faced strong competition and prevailed over Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M College of Medicine, Texas Tech University School of Medicine, University of North Texas School of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio, and University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, with a final score of 19.5 out of 20 total possible points due to perfect scores in communication, patient empathy, and physical examination.

Rishi Goel takes a focused medical history from the family member of the simulated patient as a panel of physician judges evaluates the medical team.
Rishi Goel (2nd from left) takes a focused medical history from a family member of the simulated patient as a panel of physician judges evaluates the medical team.

“After competing in SIM Wars, as well as listening to the presentation given at the TCEP conference, I feel that I have gained so much insight into the field of emergency medicine, and I know that this is a field in which I can see myself building a life and a career,” said first-year McGovern Medical School student Grace Guvernator.

“What I will remember most from this experience is the camaraderie between all of us and how we felt like ‘underdogs’ going into this competition. I really feel like that brought us together as a cohesive team.”