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Education & training

Expanded simulation centre opens at U of Calgary

CALGARY – The Undergraduate Medical Education program at the University of Calgary has expanded its use of simulators. The centre uses a variety of simulators to teach skills such as responding to emergency room scenarios, listening for specific lung and heart sounds, performing procedures and suturing incisions.

The SimSchemes Centre offers a hands-on approach to training doctors, said Dr. Bruce Wright, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education. “This new space is essential to providing our students a safe place to practice clinical skills. Students can make mistakes and learn from those mistakes while they are early in their training.”

The centre includes three Harvey simulators, which allow students to deal with a mock clinical setting, complete with patient monitors showing blood pressure, chest x-rays and laboratory results.

There are also two SimMan3G simulators that, with assistance of a technician, can talk and respond to injury or treatment like a real human might. These manikins allow students to practice everything from chronic disease management to complicated emergency situations, such as heart attack or stroke.

“We have shown that simulation has a positive impact on learning essential skills in pre-clinical years and that those skills are retained,” said Dr. Kristin Fraser, Director of Simulation for UME and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. “We have also shown that the acquired skills are transferable to real patients with similar conditions to the manikin. We are giving students sessions early in their training to target key skills for the future.”

The new centre is an expansion of the anatomy simulations laboratory which allows the students to learn basic science in one room and then potentially walk next door to a manikin simulator and apply that knowledge to clinical practice – something students say gives them an advantage in their training.

Posted May 6, 2010