Friday, April 23, 2010
PHOENIX — How medical education will be delivered in the 21st Century is now a reality at the new Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center in Arizona. The 3,000 square-foot facility, embedded within Mayo Clinic Hospital in northeast Phoenix, simulates real-life patient care situations, allowing learners to practice on sophisticated mannequins in a no-risk environment.
A key audience for this cutting-edge learning environment is first responders in the Valley, who are able to practice their profession in a simulated high-stress environment — never having to master performing invasive procedures on a real patient.
"Even given the reality that patients may never set foot in this facility, they stand to benefit greatly from the real-world education that simulation learning provides," said Paul Andrews, M.D., Medical Director of the Simulation Center. "No other curriculum can replicate the heart palpitations and sweat that is typical in a critical care exercise."
The facility replicates Mayo's emergency department, intensive care unit, hospital rooms and exam rooms. Learners hone skills ranging from nursing to emergency care to minimally invasive procedures. Stunningly realistic computerized mannequins greatly test learners' skills as they bleed, cry, stop breathing, require difficult intubation and present challenging medical situations.
The Simulation Center allows current and future health care professionals to prepare for the realities and challenges of medical practice.
A major advantage of the facility is that it is fully integrated within a hospital setting, allowing for advanced team training and access to the latest techniques, equipment and specialists to supplement the active and reality-based learning situations.
Three modes of learning are the hallmarks of the Mayo Clinic Simulation Center: Learning modules that allow surgeons and physicians to practice procedures such as gallbladder or kidney removal, high-fidelity mannequins that respond physiologically to treatment and learning on life-like "patients."
The 21st Century learning environment represents a paradigm change for education in health care, explains Dr. Andrews, noting, "Most of the learning we do is in a vacuum. We sit back, we read and we study. This now is a tool to bring groups together to take care of complex issues and allow them to practice before they ever touch a patient. Safety becomes key."
He explained that the future of medical training is not just textbooks and lectures, where the training is passive, but rather a partnership with the new world of interactive simulation, where medical scenarios can be managed to all degrees of complexity.
"Importantly, our Simulation Center crosses several disciplines related to improving patient care and safety, allowing future generations of medical providers to carry forward a commitment to excellence to meet patient needs," said Dr. Andrews.
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