Catalina Garcia-Hidalgo

Supervisor: Georg Schmolzer

Project: Using the RETAIN computer game to train healthcare providers in neonatal resuscitation


Sylvan Lake, AB

Degree program:

Doctor of Medicine

Why did you choose this program?

I chose medicine because it is a field in which I will be able to make change at the individual level, community and systemic level. I am passionate about public health and advocacy work, as well as science and evidence-based medicine. As such, I found a career as a physician will be the place in which I can best marry my interests. I love being a student and a career in medicine is one of lifelong learning.

What was it like to continue your research project when much of the country was in a lockdown or faced major restrictions?

I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to continue my research under the current circumstances. I know many, if not most, of my peers had their summer plans derailed. While my summer was not exactly what I imagined, having work to do that I enjoy and am interested in was important to my well being. The financial support allowed me to advance in my career while most of the world stood still.

What's been the best part of your experience so far?

The best part of my experience has been the opportunity to work with, learn from and collaborate with a clinician scientist and research team that work in my area of interest. It has been an incredibly formative experience to learn about research and medicine from the best while having my thoughts and ideas heard and incorporated. I have watched myself grow as a researcher and I have become more confident in my abilities. Additionally, working with this team has allowed me to see the direct impacts of research in medicine and the lives of patients

How has your studentship helped you towards your career aspirations?

This studentship has helped me towards my future career as a physician as I gained experience with neonatal and pediatric medicine which is ultimately the field I want to practice in. Experience in research as a medical student has taught me about evidence-based medicine, scientific rigor and critical thinking—all of which are skills that will enable me to treat patients with the highest standard of care. My supervisor is a clinician scientist, so I have had the privilege of having a mentor in my desired field. I feel he has better prepared me to go into the later levels of my training and eventual practice

What has the support from WCHRI and the Stollery Children's Hospital meant to you?

The support from the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation through WCHRI has meant that through a time of great uncertainty I have been able to pursue my interest and passions while developing research skills that will make me a better physician. This funding has enabled me to develop professional skills while making a positive impact on the lives of babies and their families. As my research supervisor has said to me, "If we save even one extra life, that is all that matters," and I wholeheartedly agree.

Lay abstract:

The RETAIN (REsuscitation TrAIning for Neonatal healthcare providers) project has the goal of improving the ability of medical care providers to perform resuscitation on newborn babies. Specifically, the project is developing a training simulator to assist clinical staff in learning and retaining the proper neonatal resuscitation algorithm defined by the Canadian Paediatric Society and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. This algorithm specifies the best evidence-based care procedures for managing breathing problems in newborn babies and forms a core part of clinical care delivery in this context. It is therefore important that neonatal clinical staff have a thorough understanding of the algorithm.

The project's goal was to develop a computer game to help clinical staff practice their knowledge of the correct steps of the neonatal resuscitation algorithm. The proposed research will evaluate if playing the RETAIN computer game may improve labor and delivery healthcare providers' knowledge of the correct steps of the neonatal resuscitation algorithm during a neonatal resuscitation simulation. Evaluating these educational outcomes of playing the RETAIN computer game will begin to demonstrate if the RETAIN computer game may eventually be used to supplement formal education of neonatal resuscitation providers.