The real benefits of our Simulation Center
In these first few weeks of Spring, it seems timely to be starting the Interprofessional Immersive Center (IISC) blog. We are full of enthusiasm about how this simulation center on the Health Science Campus is growing. This week, for example, 175 first year medical students are being assessed for their skills in taking blood pressures. This seems a simple enough procedure!
However, instead of practicing on real patients (can you imagine how painful it is to have your blood pressure taken every few minutes by a lot of students?) they have been learning on our human patient simulators.
In addition to offering a safe place to learn without fear of hurting patients, these students will also get feedback about the accuracy of their skills as they relate to assessing blood pressure. This kind of precision is not possible when learning on real patients. We are able to program the human patient simulators to have any heart or respiration rate or blood pressure level – or indeed, to mimic almost any clinical situation.
A major goal of the IISC is to provide a venue to advance interprofessional education and collaboration. This means that we are already sharing space, models, expertise and ideas. We are also beginning to conduct health care team exercises so that nurses, pharmacists, doctors, respiratory therapists and other care givers can learn to work together in a simulated setting prior to conducting patient care.
In case you wonder why this center is called an “immersive” simulation center, it is because we are venturing boldly into bringing virtual reality and virtual environments into the learning experience. We live in exciting times when the fields of simulation, gaming and modeling are converging.
Most health care professionals live in the fear of inadvertently harming someone. Being able to offer a full range of simulation experiences in spaces that can mimic any health care environment ‐ virtually ‐ where they can practice patient care skills will greatly help this concern.
Pamela Boyers is the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for the Advancement of Interprofessional Education and Executive Director of the Center for Clinical Simulation at The University of Toledo. In addition, she holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery.
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