Innovate in medical education thanks to clinical simulation

James Lindgren, MD, FAAP, FACP, appointed Medical Director of Advanced Training Center

Healthcare is changing rapidly as new technologies and treatments are developed to improve patient outcomes. Clinical simulation plays a vital role in the training of future physicians, providing students with access to cutting-edge technology, as well as providing opportunities to develop skills and improve performance prior to clinical placements.

The Center for Simulation and Innovation at the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix appointed James Lindgren, MD, FAAP, FACP as medical director in February 2021 to lead the institution’s efforts in training the next generation of physicians. After serving as the Sim Center’s Curriculum Director for a year, Dr. Lindgren assumed the leadership role at a time when clinical simulation training became a cornerstone of medical education.

Dr Lindgren working with medical students on a simulation dummy

“I had been a simulation instructor for a few years and was definitely passionate about how simulation can help students learn and develop clinical skills in a safe environment,” said Dr. Lindgren.

As the former Director of the Curriculum, Dr Lindgren was instrumental in creating content and logistical procedures, and now he is focusing on how the curriculum can impact the experience of learning of a student as a whole. Dr Lindgren stressed that his vision for The Sim Center is to use the innovative facilities and simulation capabilities to support a time-varying medical school experience, integrate new technologies and create personalized content for them. students.

A time varying medical school experience is a new trend in which a student has either identified their area of ​​specialty and intends to progress rapidly in their studies, or can be enrolled in a dual degree program – such as the MD / MPH program – and may need to extend their time in medical school to accommodate additional classes.

“We see that simulation has the ability to be flexible and to help us provide experience and exposure to clinical scenarios, but also to help us assess how well our students understand their clinical knowledge,” said said Dr Lindgren.

Dr Lindgren explained that simulation instructors can create complex medical cases that are learned through repetition and immediate feedback. Whether it’s a technologically advanced mannequin going through the stages of labor and delivery or an adolescent mannequin requiring immediate intubation, these high-stakes scenarios lead to hours of experiential skills that students in. medicine can take with them to their future residences or scholarships.

“In the simulation, you are never going to hurt a patient, and if a student is having a hard time, then we can debrief and re-run the scenario and give them more knowledge,” said Dr Lindgren.

Innovation – a central aspect of The Sim Center’s namesake and vision – is a key element that Dr Lindgren and his team want to highlight. In addition to the time varying medical school experience, Dr Lindgren notes that the use of technology is at the forefront of their curriculum.

The Sim Center recently unveiled virtual reality simulation software during Healthcare Simulation Week, and students immediately started using the new technology. Using an Oculus headset, students can act as if they are in a patient’s room and manage a case independently. The faculty assesses the student’s performance and provides feedback.

The Sim Center Oculus Virtual Reality Simulator
The Sim Center Oculus Virtual Reality Simulator

Dr Lindgren explained that another goal of the Sim Center is to expand its use of ultrasound technology, which he described as the 21st century. Beyond the typical rolling ultrasound machine, he says the Sim Center is procuring more portable ultrasound devices that can be used to scan the heart, lungs or stomach during a simulation training procedure. . The Sim Center intends to apply for a grant to provide an ultrasound machine to each cohort of 120 students.

The Sim Center implemented additional advancements, including upgrades to its technology-driven mannequins and a new whiteboard medical mapping system.

“We installed a whiteboard medical board with a camera capture system. As students write a patient’s history and physical condition on a whiteboard, the whiteboard organizes itself into a graph and is captured by a visible camera – not just in our classroom. control for our simulation instructor, but it also becomes available via a link so that if someone is watching the session remotely, they can also see what the students are writing on the whiteboard in real time, ”said Dr Lindgren.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced educators to innovate to continue to train top-performing students, the Sim Center was already used to modernizing the program to accommodate the fast-paced medical students’ journey. If a student is in a distance learning environment, such as when they need to be quarantined due to the pandemic, or if a student is enrolled in one of our rural health programs and needs to log in virtually, the Sim Center has set up “Zoom Buddies”. These are basically tablets with an audio in / out speaker on a roll that classmates maneuver to help them progress in their common lessons.

The ability of the Sim Center to respond to a student’s individual specialty and provide useful tools at an early stage is crucial, especially for a fourth-year student’s ability to stand out in competitive residency interviews. . Dr Lindgren noted that the Department of Academic Affairs at the Phoenix College of Medicine has been instrumental in providing these advanced clerkship opportunities, which can be a catalyst for students who achieve top residencies across the country. country.

“We have a very good team at Sim Center. There are about a dozen of us who are all related to each other – from our simulation operators who lead the mannequins and are the voice of the patients, to the presence of nurses in the room and our simulation instructors who come to teach; we have a dynamic and capable team, ”said Dr Lindgren.

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Bertha D. Parker

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