Improving Surgical Skills with Medical Simulations

Improving Surgical Skills with Medical Simulations

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NEW ORLEANS (April 17, 2012) Rear Adm. Elizabeth Niemyer, director of Navy Nurse Corps and deputy chief of Installations and Logistics, performs CPR on a medical simulation device used by students at Louisiana State University Health Science Center. The event took place during New Orleans Navy Week, one of 15 Navy weeks planned across America for 2012. Navy weeks are designed to increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joshua Treadwell/Released) 120417-N-SE516-009 Join the conversation http://www.facebook.com/USNavy http://www.twitter.com/USNavy http://navylive.dodlive.mil

Studies Reveal New Ways Simulators Can Improve Surgical Skills

Two studies are taking a fresh look at an old standby of medical education and game based learning: simulators.  With growing focus on optimizing education and skill in medical practitioners, tools and curriculum for their training are being given another look.

Simulation is routinely used in surgical education for residents. The standard protocol is to utilize virtual training, covering one procedure until residents show proficiency in that surgical area.  The resident is then able to move on to the next module and continue training.  The American College of Surgeons reports that researchers at Drexel University found that overlearning, or training beyond the point of ability, with a surgical simulator resulted in a better outcome.  Surgical trainees who overlearned with simulators reduced the learning curve, had a higher degree of mastery, retained the learned information longer, and preformed their procedures 20% faster than those who only trained until competence. Study author, Dr. Castellanos hopes that, “If we combine overlearning with starting residents doing more complex things early in their training, we think we can train a more efficient and better surgeon.”

Nursing education is the focus of a research study done by Dr. Clarke, head of Neurosurgery at Dalhousie University in Halifax,Nova Scotia. Medical training software PeriopSim has been chosen as the simulation tool being used in this study.  The study builds on the knowledge gained in 2009 when simulation innovation NeurotouchTM was used to perform the world’s first virtual brain surgery. While simulation is becoming widely used in curriculum for both graduate and undergraduate nursing programs, research studies into the efficacy of such training and its implementation are scarce. Perioperative nurses presently gain surgical skills in the operating room under the tutelage of a more experienced perioperative nurse.   This limited clinical instruction has proven to be inadequate as these nurses increasingly must function competently in a variety of specialties employing a number of intricate procedures and all which utilize an assortment of instruments.  The new methods of instruction for advancing knowledge and skill are vital to keeping up with the mounting professional expectations of perioperative nurses.

Simulation training is rapidly becoming a staple in medical education. As technological and educational trends merge, reexamining and renovating the role of simulation training in practitioner education could be key to delivering cost effective and safe methods of cultivating increased skill mastery and surgical team efficiency.  For more ways gamification is revolutionizing education, healthcare, and more, please visit our website.

Credit image: Wikimedia

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