“The sessions served to make me feel more confident in that I left with a better understanding of some of the details associated with the procedure,” he says. “Although it is difficult to judge the effect of a single-weekend exposure on my technical skills, I do feel that dedicated practice time with these techniques was helpful in making me more mindful of the technical nuances involved. The addition of simulation-based training techniques certainly augmented my educational experience, and I believe it can be used to optimize our training as residents.”
Dr. Tsirigotis is now focusing his own academic efforts on surgical education with an emphasis on simulation-based training for technical skills. This past summer, he designed and implemented a boot camp for junior cardiac residents so they could get up to speed with some of the basic technical skills. He also worked with a larger team to design and conduct a preparation camp for incoming surgical residents.
Back in the simulation centre, Mr. Xu has extremely low blood sugar – he’s moaning and groaning. A nurse enters the room, confidently introduces himself, and when Mr. Xu doesn’t respond, he calls to his colleagues.
This time, a group of nurses enters the room. They introduce themselves one by one and each goes to task. Soon, Mr. Xu’s blood sugar is back to normal. A voice over the speaker says: “Simulation over. Great job, everyone. Thank you.”
The nurses can begin their first shift in their new workplace with clarity and confidence.
Critical care residents and fellow practise an ultrasound-guided procedure.
Photgraph By: Doug Nicholson
SIMULATION CENTRE: TRAINING FOR THE UNTHINKABLE
Simulation plays a key role in training for extremely rare situations or cases that can’t be reproduced.
“This is often compared to the aviation industry. Pilots train hours and hours for various complex crash scenarios through simulation,” says Dr. Shady Ashamalla, a surgical oncologist. “No one would ever crash a plane just so they could practise landing, and most pilots won’t ever have to face the crash situation in real life. But, through simulated emergency scenarios, they are trained in these rare events so that should a crash ever occur, they can reach deep in their memory bank and respond appropriately.”
A similar approach is now used to train new as well as experienced surgeons.
“There are complex situations in operating that I’m grateful to have never faced,” Dr. Ashamalla says, “but should these scenarios arise, I would want to have practised or rehearsed this situation and be ready to spring into efficient action.”
Cardiac surgeon Dr. Fuad Moussa agrees. He is in the midst of creating simulation scenarios for the cardiac surgery team based on extremely rare catastrophes. The surgeons, residents, anesthetists and nurses will all participate, he says. “People always say, ‘Practice makes perfect,’ but it’s actually, ‘Perfect practice makes perfect.’ Simulation has such tremendous potential for education and training.”
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