Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Simulation in Medical Education

We had an interesting talk about the use of simulation in medical education this morning and it made me think about how far we have come from the "apprenticeship model' of the late 19th and early 20th century. The concept of practicing medical procedures on inanimate objects rather than on patients (especially me) seems a "no brainer", yet medicine has been slow to take full advantage of simulations. Perhaps the allure of the "cadaver lab" was lost on previous generations of medical students and residents, even though these labs provided the only opportunity to "do no harm" while developing skills. Today's high-tech simulation labs provide the opportunity for students and residents to practice everything from interviewing skills with standardized patients to intubation and team ACLS with high-tech mannequins.

We are designing a multi-purpose, multi-site simulation system here at the Clinic that appears to take full advantage of modern technology, all the while honoring the tradition of low-tech human-human interaction. I was impressed with the fore-thought and planning that went into the design. ...My generation marvels at robotic surgery, social media and high tech simulators, imagine the simulations that could be conceived by future generations who interact with avatars in pre-school. Will it be better medicine?? I don't know.

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