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SimUPWars 2023: Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family.

On the 20th of September, at 08:00 AM, the UP Health Science students from various departments gathered at Tswelopele 1 on the UP campus for an extraordinary event known as SimUPWars 2023. This event served as a unique opportunity for these students to engage in patient simulations meticulously crafted by the highly skilled professionals at UP's state-of-the-art skills lab.

One of the standout moments leading up to this event was the challenge extended to EMPret, the reigning champions from SBAH (Steve Biko Academic Hospital), by the ROCKET HEMS team, comprising five members. The rivalry began to brew during the Masters of Resuscitation conference, where one of ROCKET HEMS' ECPs attempted to instill fear in the EMPret team, only to discover their unwavering professionalism and emergency care expertise. It was a case of barking up the wrong tree.

The morning of the event saw the arrival of the ROCKET 0 Sim Helicopter at around 07:00 AM. As people swarmed around it with curiosity, their questions about flying dominated the conversation, momentarily sidelining the main event happening in the back. The ECP from ROCKET HEMS found himself designated as the photographer for those taking the front seat, but everyone's real fascination lay with the desire to become pilots.

Nevertheless, at approximately 08:00 AM, the student teams began to arrive, impressing everyone with their visually striking appearances, including unique team names that left no expense spared. The students' dedication to dressing the part was commendable.

By 08:30 AM, after some coffee and memorable photos taken with a very much alive and venomous snake in its locked cage (enough to induce fear in anyone living in South Africa), the event officially commenced. The Dean graced the occasion, arriving in response to sirens from a nearby car.

Multiple organizations generously sponsored gifts and prizes for the top three winners and the best-dressed team. Choosing among the outstanding outfits was undoubtedly a challenging task.

The event unfolded as the ten participating teams were presented with a complex case involving multiple injuries and treatment strategies. Over several hours, different departments worked collaboratively in a high-stress environment, receiving valuable feedback. Judges and experts were on hand to provide additional information, often resulting in humorous exchanges that simulated real-life situations, all in good spirits to help students understand their limits and capabilities.

The "PRO TEAMS" then took their turn, with some friendly banter outside before EMPret led the way. They performed exceptionally, setting the bar high. However, the real test awaited the ROCKET HEMS team, which included a doctor, two ICU flight nurses, and two HEMS ECPs, with the legendary Kaleb as their team leader. Their performance was flawless, and the patient survived after 20 minutes of intense stress. The pressure was palpable, with one ECP even responding in Afrikaans due to the intimidating gaze of 100 onlookers. Walking past the reigning champions, they were met with cheers and high-fives, showcasing the excellent sportsmanship of all involved

The final showdown between the top three teams was nothing short of spectacular. As medical practitioners, they were well-acquainted with the term "SIMS," but these teams elevated the concept to a whole new level. Each of the ten teams deserved recognition, but ultimately, there could only be one winner. The humility of the winning team's leader, who expressed gratitude countless times to his teammates, was truly noteworthy.

Prizes were awarded to the top three teams, ranging from a free BLS course in the following year to an observer shift on the ROCKET HEMS helicopter in Johannesburg for a day. Smiles abounded as these prizes were distributed.

In conclusion, SimUPWars was an undeniable success, fostering a memorable experience for all participants, judges, experts, and observers alike. It was a time of learning and forging new friendships, encapsulating the essence of Kofi Annan's words:

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family."

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