Augmenting healthcare learning with medical simulation


Simulation as a technology for learning and training has been around for a long time in different industries, notably in aviation, healthcare, architecture and high hazard industries like nuclear plants and even military. Medical Simulation provides immersive learning which is more effective than traditional learning. With guided, real like experiences, the facts and concepts are best recalled and put into service when they are taught, practiced, and assessed in the context in which they will be used. When a learner is involved in the process, the memorization is deeper, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius said it 2500 years ago, “Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand”

Simulation based training puts emphasis on outcome more than on the process, when it’s evidence based the training provides patient safety and increased knowledge of real life situations, leading to better patient care and decreased casualties. Nursing is a practice oriented profession which requires both theoretical as well as practical knowledge and psychomotor skills, it is important to ensure the integration of theoretical knowledge into practice. Simulations are an excellent way of learning for nurses. Medical manikins simulate multiple anatomical functions helping nurses practice and gain skills to perform on real human bodies, manikins also eliminate the need of cadavers for training.

Computerized manikins are used as high fidelity simulators of human anatomy, they breathe, they have pulses, heart beats, they display blood pressure and other bodily parameters required for clinical observation, medical procedures can be performed on them and they give feedbacks. Nurses and physicians get real like experience on the plastic bodies before they move on to patients. 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.

The training conducted on manikins can be administered and tracked for analysis on a learning platform which integrates with the firmware of the manikin. iPC Scholar, 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 administrator to certify the students on completion of training.

In digital simulation real life scenarios are represented graphically on a screen, it’s a powerful combination of digital technology and simulation with the advantage of being able to represent complex scenarios, like visceral organs. Healthcare professionals can practice various processes and learn the working of complex equipment in virtual world eliminating any real risks to human lives. With digital simulation professionals have the freedom to practice whenever and as  often as they want, on the screen of their devices. For learning courses, digital simulation instills a sense of ownership of course completion for the learners, they do it in their own time and space and have the responsibility to learn and complete the tasks that are sanctioned. They are responsible for their own development.

Healthcare professionals require extensive knowledge in their discipline, with critical judgement and precise application of knowledge. A lapse in any of these could have an impact on an individual’s life or health. Healthcare is a dynamic industry with continuously evolving science, practices and usage of equipment. This necessitates a highly effective training and continuous learning for all the stakeholders in the profession, be it nurses, anaesthetists, surgeons, physicians or technicians. Simulation based trainings develop practical skill and knowledge required for critical processes and handling of hi tech equipment, it also develops confidence and attitude as it provides life like experience which engraves into a learner’s memory.