“Living, breathing” mannequins now part of curriculum for Vancouver Island health students

Medical Sciences, Human and Social Development

Health care learners in Greater Victoria will gain crucial clinical and interprofessional skills treating life-like mannequins that breathe, talk, cough and moan in pain at a new simulation centre opening today at the Royal Jubilee Hospital.

The Centre for Interprofessional Clinical Simulation Learning will present future doctors, nurses and midwives with medical scenarios they are likely to encounter when treating patients, while training them to work alongside one another as a multidisciplinary team.

“This centre is a perfect example of the investments that are being made to support innovative learning opportunities for health care professionals and students,” says Health Minister Terry Lake. “Having the ability to train together in situations that simulate real life medical scenarios and actual hospital environments, provides the opportunity for users to hone their skills in a safe environment and ultimately improve patient care.”

The $2.9-million centre is a partnership project of Island Health, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine with three simulation laboratories replicating an operating room, a critical care unit and a patient care room.

From one of two control rooms, technicians can remotely program a mannequin to simulate complex, unanticipated medical situations to help learners acquire relevant skills under pressure. A videoconferencing/debriefing room provides for instruction and discussion before and after simulation sessions.

Among those using the centre will be the 128 medical students in the Island Medical Program, a collaboration between the UBC Faculty of Medicine, UVic and Island Health; the 366 nursing students at UVic; several UBC undergraduate midwifery students training on Vancouver Island; medical residents training in Island Health’s various facilities; and experienced health professionals in Greater Victoria who want to maintain or sharpen their skills. The centre may also be used to support health research projects.

“The centre provides technologically advanced, hands-on learning for educating the health care professionals who make a vital difference in our community,” says Dr. Valerie Kuehne, UVic’s vice-president academic and provost. “Today’s students value how experiential learning can lead to deeper understanding, stronger connections with their future co-workers and higher job satisfaction.”

The centre draws from the aviation industry’s use of flight simulators to provide trainees and experienced pilots with “situational context”—the interaction between the task, the environment and the behaviour of team members.

“This centre puts learners in clinical scenarios as close to real-life as it gets, while allowing them to learn, and make mistakes, in a safe environment,” says Dr. Bruce Wright, head of UVic’s Division of Medical Sciences and UBC’s regional associate dean, Vancouver Island. “The dynamic nature of this technology will help students and professionals alike develop their clinical skills, in real time.”

“Research shows team-based simulation learning is one of the most effective ways for us to meet this region’s unique needs in serving a growing, aging and longer-living population,” says Dr. Taj Baidwan, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Island Health. “We know high-functioning teams improve patient outcomes.”

See link below for backgrounder.

Visit the CICSL website at www.viha.ca/simulation.

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Click here for the backgrounder.

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Keywords: health, education, nursing

People: Bruce Wright

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