• 6/10/2013

An award for good teaching:

Taking care of emergencies together

A medical emergency: everything must run smoothly now. Doctors and nurses work best if they practiced the case of emergency before – together. So far, they still practice separately. This is about to change, according to a new concept of teaching for which Dr. Rainer Haseneder, anaesthesiologist at the "Klinikum rechts der Isar", won the Ernst Otto Fischer Teaching Award 2013.

Doctors in the simulation center
In the simulation center at the "Klinikum rechts der Isar": Dr. Rainer Haseneder, winner of the teaching-award, during an emergency-simulation with young doctors. (Photo: Andreas Heddergott)

Rainer Haseneder (39) aims to bring together future physicians and nurses during their job training already. He is a senior physician at the Department of Anaesthesiology and is responsible for the teaching of anaesthesia and emergency medicine. So far, there is no shared training phase during the period of qualification – although all sides must work together perfectly in a case of emergency. Technical skills are important. Just as important as effective coordination within the team.

Most errors are not caused by technical problems

"Several different professions must work together in a case of emergency: doctors, nurses, paramedics, surgical and anaesthesia assistants," says Haseneder. "In order to treat a patient successfully, there are a lot of things that need to be in order: the technical infrastructure, the expert knowledge of medicine and nursing, manual skills." Mostly, this is not where things go wrong.

If there are any mistakes during an emergency, the problem is predominantly caused by the interaction between the individuals . These so-called "non–technical skills" include how the involved parties communicate with each other, how tasks are distributed, what the planned course of treatment is, and how the resources are used. Haseneder: "There are algorithms for certain emergencies, to organize a resuscitation, for instance. Everybody knows the formal procedures." But there are many little details that are important but not defined, such as the distribution of tasks by acclamation and feedback between the actors.

Emergencies as realistic as possible

"Until know, during a course of medical studies, the non-technical skills that are important for emergency medicine are only taught as a sideline." His iTetriS course (Interprofessional Team Training in a Simulation Center) provides the best possible emergency simulations. "The participants need to be in stress. Everything must be as realistic as possible." There are programmed high-tech puppets to substitute the patients and the whole procedure is filmed and discussed in detail. The results are often surprising, says Rainer Haseneder: "What the participants learn about their behavior is very personal. Everybody must be aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses in order to decide what can be improved in future."

From summer semester of 2014 onwards, the iTetris course will be part of the practical year (Praktisches Jahr, PJ) of the medical studies at TUM. The Ernst Otto Fischer Teaching Award aims to reward members of the TUM’s academic staff who try to conceive and implement an innovative educational concept independently. The prize also provides personnel and material resources to help implement new ideas. More information about the Ernst Otto Fischer Teaching Award and the other prize winners of 2013.


Technical University of Munich

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