Recently, the residents and fellows of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) practiced treating patients with acute respiratory distress by using mechanical ventilators. The training was conducted in the Mark Richardson Interprofessional Simulation Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility, and the patients were Gaumard manikins.
OHSU professor of medicine, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, likens the simulation center to a sports team’s training room. It is one of the largest in the country and features eight state-of-the-art simulation suites where students can practice scenarios set in a labor and delivery unit, PICU, Med-Surg, and more. In addition, the center has a variety of patient simulators including HAL. Students can practice specific skills on low-fidelity skills trainers or a full spectrum of techniques on a high-fidelity simulator.
The center was designed to reproduce almost any case that might be encountered in a hospital. Thus, students can practice and master clinical skills in a controlled environment without harming a real patient. Hands-on practice allows the students to experience the realities of a medical emergency and develop their ability to react quickly to these emergencies.
These simulated patients have heart and lung sounds, can reproduce various neurological symptoms, display cyanosis, and even communicate through embedded microphones and speakers. By using these features in the center’s eight simulation suites, doctors can learn how to respond to emergent medical situations across different departments and specializations.
Students can deliver care during a labor and delivery scenario, a pediatric intensive care unit, and even in a home setting. By practicing in these varied settings, OHSU is creating well-rounded health care providers who are ready to respond to any emergency or ailment.
Dr. Stephanie Nonas, the director of the hospital’s intensive care unit, says that simulation is so helpful when training new doctors because it allows them to re-create often rare, life-threatening situations.
Some ailments and situations are difficult to teach because they appear only rarely in the hospital. Students, who are paying tuition, cannot afford to sit around and wait to practice a procedure. Likewise, if they are not in the hospital when a specific case happens, then they have missed a learning opportunity.
Students immediately see the value of simulation because the manikins can realistically demonstrate a variety of ailments and physical presentations. Feeling a pulse and recognizing an abnormal pulse rate is much more valuable to a student than reading about what an abnormal pulse rate is. Moreover, the students can practice a variety of procedures and sharpen their diagnostic skills so they do not have gaps in their knowledge.