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Skills course offers simulation training

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
Providing opportunities for students to train together and develop their expertise to improve patient safety  care is the goal of simulation-based education training.
As part of a new interactive learning program sponsored by the College of Medicine, senior-level medical, nursing and physician assistant students sampled the benefits of working side-by-side to learn and practice techniques and acquire skills they will soon use in caring for patients.
The course is one of more than 50 classes offered in the introductory Internship 101 program. The program was established to enhance learning and prepare students for their internship year and real-life experiences within various health care settings. The class, offered in two sessions from March to April, supports the campus’ broad-based plan for enhancing interprofessional education and team building.
In 2006, MUSC welcomed noted simulation training specialist and researcher John Schaefer, M.D., as director of simulation and head of statewide simulation research and education as an endowed chair with the South Carolina Center for Quality Health Care and Patient Safety. Schaefer is coordinating the campus’ new MUSC Simulation Center at the College of Nursing, which will serve as an interdisciplinary training site for students and educators from each of MUSC’s six colleges. The center is scheduled to open in June.
The simulation skills course is led by Donna H. Kern, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Family Medicine and C3 domain leader for Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety, which focuses on using simulation technology to teach students. She is joined by interdisciplinary faculty who conduct and support simulation teaching within their own programs and collaborated to share their expertise in developing learning modules for this course. Faculty include Nancy Duffy, R.N., assistant professor of Nursing and director of the College of Nursing’s undergraduate program; Jane Anderson, R.N., instructor of Nursing; Laurel Hays, assistant professor in the College of Health Professions (CHP); director of clinical education, Communication Sciences & Disorders Program; and Kevin Harmon, assistant professor in CHP’s Physician Assistant Program; nurse anesthetists Jane Swing and Ray White; and Frances Lee, associate professor of medicine and director of instructional operations, MUSC Center for Clinical Effectiveness & Patient Safety.
“It has been a fun, challenging and rewarding experience collaborating with this group and learning from each other,” said Kern. “Despite our busy schedules, we’ve found the time to sit down, plan and work together. Each of us shares a passion for teaching and learning and we’re all dedicated to making this course and program a success.”
The course is structured to accommodate 10 teams of three interdisciplinary students who rotate through five learning modules: a high-fidelity resuscitation training mannequin—Resusci Anne is computer monitored and helps users learn and receive feedback on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques; tracheostemy care and suctioning; Foley catheter placement—allows users to practice sterile insertion techniques; IV training arms—allow users to start intravenous fluids; and nasogastric intubation trainer—used to insert a temporary tube through the nostril to the stomach. A clinical instructor was present at each module to teach and assist students.
Fourth-year medical student Patricia Cohen attended the March 6 session and was impressed with feedback she gained using Resusci Anne as part of her team’s CPR training. “It was a little harder than I anticipated (to do CPR correctly), but working with the computer/simulator was helpful and fun,” she said.
Fellow medical student Lewis Cooper also felt the class was a good experience and enjoyed the chance to work with interdisciplinary teams.
“My only suggestion is to offer this skills class earlier in the medical school curriculum and prior to the start of third-year clinical rotations,” Cooper said. “It gives students a chance to gain some valuable skills and experiences and allows us a greater chance to possibly perform some clinical procedures throughout our rotational experiences.”
Course instructors also echoed the success of the class.
“The opportunity to collaborate with other faculty was truly beneficial,” said Duffy, who assisted students in the nasogastric intubation module. ”We were there by a common bond: to advance interprofessional education using technology. We became a team of interprofessional faculty, designed the stations and role-modeled effective, collaborative behaviors. It was great to have the first effort a success. It really is an incentive to consider the other possibilities for our students and faculty.”

Friday, March 28, 2008
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