Education Report

Simulating success

Simulation is changing the way that new medical professionals are being trained to practice their trade, and researchers at St. Michael's are leading the way.

Dr. Teodor Grantcharov and his team of surgical simulation researchers developed a curriculum for removing colon tumors that addressed concerns they had with the current system. "We are moving the learning curve from the OR to a virtual environment," said Dr. Grantcharov. "Now, only people who demonstrate proficiency are allowed to come to the OR."

A recent evaluation confirmed the value of simulation in medical education: students trained through the St. Michael's simulation–enhanced curriculum performed twice as well technically and displayed an increased knowledge of procedures.

This fits with the vision that Dr. Douglas Campbell, the recently–appointed director of the Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre, has in his new role to "continue to make St. Michael's a national and international leader in simulation through a focus on quality, patient safety and education delivery."

To accomplish this vision, the centre will represent the full continuum of simulation – not just the technical skills, but also teamwork skills.

A state–of–the–art operating room, the "gem" of the centre, is equipped with surgical simulation tools and audio–visual equipment that records teams and allows for feedback on effective teamwork.

"It's unrealistic to expect teams trained uni–professionally to be able to come together and work together efficiently during an emergency situation," said Campbell, explaining the importance of interprofessional education.

Saad Rafi, deputy minister of health, saw the value of this kind of training first–hand during a recent visit to the centre. "We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the hospital and left feeling as though we had a deeper understanding of how important it is to function together as a team, whether encountering a medical situation or a challenge within our regular responsibilities."