Bridging the gap between theory and practice through medical simulation

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Simulation as a technique to impart effective learning has been used in different fields for a long time. Aviation is one industry which primarily uses simulation for training of pilots. Imitation cockpits in which pilots take the training are designed to imitate reality by creating all the motions and visuals, which help them in gaining the experience of flying before flying an actual aircraft. Healthcare is another industry which has significantly benefited from simulation as a learning tool. Although many institutions in the developed parts of the world have implemented simulation for teaching and training medical professionals, the technique is still gaining ground rapidly in the industry and has an immense potential in it to revolutionize healthcare training.

Patient care is a critical and demanding job, it requires extensive training and precise application of knowledge to understand human anatomy, illnesses and how to manage them. A lot of turnover is reported among nurses due to the sapping nature of the job and inadequate training. Apart from the theoretical knowledge the significant part of the training requires hands-on experience in managing illnesses and this is done through clinical placements. Simulation as a tool for training, augments the training and helps doctors and nurses in learning better patient care resulting in decreased casualties.

Manikins

Simulation using manikins is a high fidelity simulation (hfs) in which students learn their skills in an authentic way. This interactive form of learning increases the confidence of nurses and doctors in their initial days of handling emergencies giving them a strong footing on the processes and concepts. Medical manikins can imitate anatomical conditions and abnormalities of bodily functions and give the students a direct experience of real life scenarios. Manikins also provide an interactive experience by use of skills students have acquired so far through theory and practice, which helps them reinforce the learning.

Simulation allows to create conditions and apply the skills to tackle through them, it also allows the students a high degree of responsibility in a condition which could be life threatening, without putting in danger the lives of patients. Critical thinking and clinical judgement is improved which results in effective functioning in real life clinical settings. This experience equips and emboldens the students to handle an emergency situation which results in a more positive outcome.

Tracking the Training

The training conducted on manikins can be administered and tracked for analysis on a learning platform which integrates with the firmware of the manikin. iPublishCentral Learn, a flagship online learning management system of Impelsys has been used by some of the world’s largest healthcare professional associations as a platform to manage training on manikins. The platform gives a comprehensive and broad analysis of students’ activities on the manikin, track their progress and skill proficiency and provide feedbacks to individual trainees. The platform also allows the training administration to certify the students on completing the training.

Nurse training with simulation programmes have been widely successful, medical institutions which have implemented the technique have reported improved patient care which are a direct result of nurses’ better understanding of the concepts and increased skill level. For simulation to be effective students need prior preparation and sufficient amount of time to get acquainted to the environment. Trainers need to prepare the students by ensuring that they have understood the system and anticipate all the events.

Simulations are also extremely helpful in skill training for practicing nurses, it helps in refining and revising the concepts and skills through interactive engagement which reinforces the learning. The method also helps facilitate collaboration, communication and teamwork when productivity and professionalism are not at a satisfactory level. The widely accepted efficacy and benefits of simulation training in healthcare also encompass psychological and social maturity of professionals beyond cognitive and skill building abilities. With systematic implementation in training programmes simulation as a technique improves training outcomes with increased efficiency and decreased turnover.

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