Background The increased use of simulation for teaching clinical and non technical skills has revolutionised our multidisciplinary retrieval training. The opportunity to experience real time situations and respond within a safe environment is widely documented as an invaluable teaching tool allowing teams to explore not only the treatments of different conditions but also to focus on the human factors and identify strategies for good leadership and follower ship, (Cheng et al 2007).
Method The extra benefit of the simulation days has come from an unexpected quarter. The teams themselves are asked to play differing roles fulfilling the position of local hospital staff or a parent. These experiences have resulted in unanticipated insights into what it is like to be involved in a retrieval from ‘the other side’.
Results Retrieval team members have responded saying, ‘the child was really ill and it was such a relief when the team arrived’, showing real insight into the experiences of the local staff. ‘It gave me a bird’s eye view of retrievals’. Members playing the role of parents often became emerged in their roles feeling close to tears at times when things were not going well. Other comments included, ‘there were so many of them I felt left out and out of control’.
Conclusions These comments will be further explored and discussed with relation to how these experiences can be translated into our practice and improve the service we deliver to our critically ill children and their families.