Perspectives: Yasuharu “Haru” Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH

 

 

 

FOR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW YOU, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION TO HEALTH?

I am an emergency physician and I think my true self is a physician first and a health care provider first. The reason I got into simulation was, as I went through medical school and residency training, I was actually very frustrated with how our traditional health care training was set up. We don’t do a good job training our doctors to work with nurses and nurses to work with social workers or pharmacists. So that was one challenge I had and I said, I want to make a difference there. The second one, which was more impactful to me was, we use to teach in that see one, do one, teach one method which is, a doctor shows me how to do a procedure, then they say, “you do it on your own” and then the next one you teach it. It may not be that literal, but the concept has been very engrained in health care training. I felt that it was very unsafe for the patients. If I were a patient, I would want a doctor that practiced ten thousand hours. I was a musician in my former life and that’s what I did, I practiced and I practiced before I performed. That’s sort of my expectation for a doctor or a health care provider and yet, traditionally, that’s not how we train our folks. That’s where I discovered simulation based training, where you can train doctors, nurses, health care teams in a safe environment both for patients, but also for the student. You don’t want to make a mistake as a learner, you want to do it in a safe environment, in a simulated environment. I discovered that about 18 years ago as a new way to teach. My life long passion is building simulation-based training as an expectation and a part of learning and teaching in health care so that we can make our health environment a safer place for our patients and just a better experience for our patients and their family members. As far as my role and excitement coming onto the CAMLS team – I actually spent about seven and a half years working as a National Medical Director for the Department of Veteran Affairs, building their national simulation center and through that experience, I had a wonderful opportunity to help impact our nation’s veterans and build a national program. When I saw this opportunity at USF Health to lead CAMLS, which is one of the premiere simulation centers in the country, I really wanted to be a part of this organization. CAMLS has this perfect balance of access to these wonderful health care providers through USF Health, has this 9,000 sq. ft. beautiful facility where we do team training, advanced surgical procedures and conference programs, and I felt that I could be a part of that and contribute to bring CAMLS to where we can really be  the leader in health care simulation-based training for the nation and hopefully, eventually, be known globally.

 

 

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED ON THE ROAD TO YOUR PRESENT CAREER?

The biggest challenge as I’ve been going through health care simulation, is getting people to believe in it and putting their resources behind it. If you think about simulation-based training, it makes sense on the surface, we often talk in simulation about airline pilots and commercial airlines about how they’re required to do simulation every six months as a part of their training efforts and maintenance of their pilot certification, so it seems like a no-brainer. You talk to people and they say, “of course! Doctors, nurses, they should do the same thing,” but if you look from an organizational standpoint, to take a doctor or a nurse out of their clinical practice, it costs money. To shut down an operating room to run simulations, it costs money and resources. Over my 15 to 20 years of trying to advocate and really instill the importance of simulation-based training, there have been road blocks where they say, “well, I think it’s a great idea, but I don’t want to allow my folks to be freed up to do the training,” or, “it costs our organization money” or, “they have to do it on their own time.” I think that’s been my biggest frustration in trying to advocate for the power of simulation, the importance of simulation and really have leadership in health care organizations share my passion and understanding of the importance of simulation.

 

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG MEDICAL STUDENT OR YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Building passion into your career. I think for younger health care providers, whether you’re a doctor, nurse or pharmacist coming out, you’re coming into a very different environment than was 20 or 30 years ago and a lot of folks talk about, at least for physicians, physician burnout. There’s so many things that a physician needs to do – charting on these electronic medical records, billing, things that we didn’t really need to think about in the past as much. Just to give you some statistics, I’m an emergency physician, depending on some of the surveys that you look at, we’re ranked typically in the top 3 highest burnout rates. 50% burnout in emergency medicine. My advice to young folks coming out is really build some passion into your career; find a niche in what you do. Mine was health care simulation and safety and quality improvement. I’ve been very happy, I get up every morning excited to come to work because it’s something I’m passionate about. If your’s is giving patient care then I think that’s great, but find some uniqueness about that that you’re going to do it in a way that’s different and that you’re going to change the way that we practice. Whether it’s the way that you interact with patients or the way that you interact with your teams, but do something that gets you excited every morning and then really focus on that through your career so that you’re not in that bucket of folks that do burnout. I think that if you’re in it for the money, those are the folks that burnout because that only goes so far and you got to have a greater vision and passion for what you do.

 

 

 

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Perspectives: Kevin Sneed, PharmD

Senior Associate Vice President, USF Health & Dean, College of Pharmacy

 
Be visionary. Be bold. Be collaborative. Really strive to create true, patient-centered care."
USF Health: To envision and implement the future of health.

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