SIM Wars Offers Valuable Lessons in Patient Care

SIM Wars is a live competition that has taken place at ENA’s Emergency Nursing annual conference since 2017. Teams of emergency nurses work through simulated scenarios to achieve the best outcome for patients. Each group is evaluated on their clinical management, teamwork and communication.

Nilu Faiz

“SIM Wars takes center stage each year in the Experience Hall and is always highly anticipated among Emergency Nursing attendees,” said ENA Learning Experiences Coordinator Nilu Faiz. “Participants will experience how simulation can be an essential part of their organization’s training program by putting their team to the test in the competition.” 

One group will walk away with the championship title, their team’s name on the trophy and bragging rights for the year. The stakes are even higher this year as SIM Wars is introducing its newly designed trophy and, for the first time, a championship belt. The winning team’s name will be engraved onto the belt and a plaque attached to the trophy base. ENA encourages the winner to take the new championship belt with them on their travels and show off their achievement. 

Realistic patient experiences are a crucial component of the event, from the four-person teams to the available equipment to the live “patients” played by local nursing students. This authenticity benefits both the competitors and the actors. SIM Wars teams can read nonverbal communication from human subjects that manikins cannot provide, which also serves as a reminder to prioritize a patient-centered approach to care. 

SIM Wars participants receive a short briefing before their time on stage but have no prior knowledge of the emergency scenario they’ll be asked to solve. They must be prepared for anything. 

A crew of experienced clinicians grades each team on its performance. The evaluation is split between technical skills assessments and human factors criteria.

“Whether Emergency Nursing attendees decide to participate in the competition or observe the event as audience members, there are valuable lessons to learn,” Faiz explained. 

Last year’s winners (pictured above) were the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazing Blazers. In round one, they were tasked with diagnosing an intubated patient who had been transferred to the ED and began rapidly decompensating. In the finals, they treated an actor traveling to Denver (the site of Emergency Nursing 2022) and experiencing discomfort. When a monitor started ringing, the team eventually identified that the patient had a left ventricular assist device.

Judges observed that the UAB team members worked seamlessly together to put their patient in a position to survive a dangerous incident. 

Team sign-ups are now full for SIM Wars at Emergency Nursing 2023. If you have any questions about SIM Wars, please contact Nilu Faiz at [email protected].

Register Today for Emergency Nursing 2023

 Registration for Emergency Nursing 2023 is still open! Level up with ENA and thousands of your emergency nursing peers in sunny San Diego on Sept. 21-23. Attendees can look forward to immersive experiences with hands-on learning opportunities, high-quality sessions, networking events and can’t-miss celebrations sure to propel their careers onward and upward.