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Medical Simulators & Tutorials

Pack your bag "Resusci Anne", the future of medical education is here--simulation.

Emerging first in the 1930's to help military personnel prepare for flight, simulation was slow to appear on the health care horizon. Today, however, medical simulators are widely accepted by the medical community as effective methods of training and education.

Utilizing simulation technology to provide health care professionals with the opportunity to practice procedures and diagnostic methods on computer-based models, medical simulators give clinicians hands-on experience by replicating realistic clinical scenarios, with the added benefit of eliminating the risk to an actual patient. These interactive tutorials allow students to practice, repeat, and fine-tune procedures in order to identify and correct mistakes and maximize clinical outcomes when presented with real-life scenarios.

Types of Medical Simulators

Medical simulators can be found in almost every medical specialty--neurology, gynecology, cardiology, pulmonology, and gastroenterology only scratch the surface of the vast array of interactive tutorials that are available. Simulation typically falls into three categories:

  • Medical patient simulators use life-size patient models that breathe and have a heartbeat, pulse, and vital signs. This virtual patient can be programmed to display a variety of medical emergencies such as a heart attack or stroke. They can simulate major trauma or injury, give birth, and talk. These computer-based patients can also respond to medications and anesthesia gases.
  • Full environment simulation involves the use of sophisticated medical patient simulators in a specific environment such as an operating room, intensive care unit, emergency room, or catheterization laboratory.
  • Task or procedure interactive medical tutorials allow students to perform only a specific procedure such as drawing blood, placing a chest tube or giving an inoculation.

Regardless of the type of medical simulation method used, the goal is to foster teamwork across medical disciplines, increase patient safety, and improve clinical outcomes.

Medical Patient Simulators: A Benefit to Those Giving and Those Receiving

According to the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die each year due to medical errors occurring during treatment. Interactive medical tutorials give health care professionals, whether students or seasoned practitioners, the opportunity to sharpen their skills and gain confidence without risking the safety of a human patient. The practice unites nurses, physicians, and allied health providers in a structured environment that promotes communication, learning, and collaboration--a benefit to practitioners and ultimately patients.

In addition to the benefit of reducing medical-related accidents, medical simulators can store performance history and provide detailed reports for improvement strategies. They can also track statistics for simulators in different physical locations to provide important insight into trending common errors and addressing recurring issues among disciplines.

Locating Medical Simulators

Medical patient simulators are available in a variety of venues including nursing and medical schools, hospitals, colleges and universities, research labs, military facilities, and surgery centers. There are also conferences and conventions scheduled annually to bring the medical community together to discuss this emerging benefit to health care education.

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