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A Glimpse of the Future of Clinical Education: Boston Scientific's SimSuite Bus Visits Carnegie Institute

Alan Bennett, RCIS, Program Director, Invasive Cardiovascular Technology, Carnegie Institute, Troy, Michigan. Photos by Michael Hacala, Clinical Coordinator, Carnegie Institute.
Alan Bennett, RCIS, Program Director, Invasive Cardiovascular Technology, Carnegie Institute, Troy, Michigan. Photos by Michael Hacala, Clinical Coordinator, Carnegie Institute.
Carnegie Institute was recently privileged to have a visit by the Boston Scientific (Natick, MA) simulation van and the SimSuite (Medical Simulation Corporation, Denver, CO) hands-on demonstration team. Our invasive cardiovascular technology (CVT) instructors and students had an opportunity to work on a complex right coronary artery (RCA) lesion and manage the various complications that arose. A steady stream of administrative staff and admissions counselors were also able to view the process up close, providing them with a deeper understanding of the high-tech world their students will be entering. A first-hand account of the experience from one of our instructors follows, but I would like to take a moment now to share my thoughts about the urgent need for accelerating the availability of simulation technology for teaching health care professionals in the cath lab and other critical care settings. To take people, even those with a good foundation in a related field, such as paramedics, medical assistants and foreign medical graduates, and prepare them to work in a cath or electrophysiology (EP) lab is a complex and time-consuming process. It involves screening, lecturing, coaching and testing, and long hours in the classroom. All very necessary foundation work. Yet the high-performance clinical skills will come only with an enormous amount of repetition on real patients. Suppose we could rehearse those experiences in advance, under controlled conditions and with all kinds of complications thrown in, but with no risk to a living patient. The time from novice to veteran could be shortened dramatically. The boost to educational productivity would be revolutionary. The complaint about education being remote from practice fuels constant debate about reform in education, from early learning to the post-graduate level. With clinical simulation, we could link education and practice. Gone would be the horse-and-buggy days of pure didactic, without the tactile reinforcement that makes the experience real and the learner proficient. While simulation technology remains expensive, the costs are coming down. An investment in partnering between educational institutions and businesses that possess this technology would generate a leap of productivity in education. The shortages of skilled physicians, nurses and technologists are growing. Today’s demographics of age and disease compel an acceleration of the training pipeline. The old way of learn theory in the classroom and slowly gain skills in practice in the real world lags sorely behind as a method for meeting the challenges we face in high-tech medicine. Let’s consider what practical steps can be taken by sharing, partnering or pioneering to bring us closer to clinical simulation as the standard of medical education rather than a magical moment, over much too soon. My thanks to Boston Scientific for that magical moment and the lingering thirst for more!
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