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State-of-the-art simulation lab arrives at Women’s College

from the July 25, 2011 issue of Connect

Women’s College Hospital has a long history of teaching, training and mentoring future health-care professionals. Since 1883, when Woman’s Medical College opened so women could study medicine at a time when that wasn’t possible anywhere else, Women’s College has been a home for learning.

Women’s College continues its dedication to education with the recent arrival of a new surgical simulation (SIM) lab, featuring state-of-the-art training equipment in the areas of orthopedic surgery (generously donated through a grant from Smith & Nephew), nursing and anesthesia.

“It was a natural fit for all of us to come together for this interdisciplinary program,” said Dr. John Semple, chief of surgery, Women’s College Hospital. “And it shows that our peri-operative services are moving along at a high velocity.”

Staff, physicians and volunteers were on hand to learn about the simulation stations and be a part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony when the lab officially opened on 3 East on July 14.

Participants had the opportunity to visit each of the stations, where they saw first-hand how patients are intubated before surgery in order to receive a general anesthetic, learned the proper way to perform CPR and used the arthroscopic tools on a simulated knee and shoulder.

“This space is so integral to all the training that needs to happen,” said Pam Bonsell, clinical education leader, who led participants through the nursing station. “We were very limited before – the lab makes a world of difference in terms of what we can offer.”

While the department of anesthesia has been using simulation for training medical students in basic anesthesia skills such as endotracheal intubation and crisis management, it will now have a dedicated space for its equipment. A new initiative under the direction of Dr. Pamela Morgan, anesthesiologist at WCH and research director for the Canadian Simulation Centre for Human Performance and Crisis Management Training, will study the usefulness of “true-to-life” models in teaching nerve block placement techniques to anesthesia residents. Nerve blocks placed before surgery provide pain relief after orthopedic procedures.

The SIM lab is available to nurses and clinicians who need to train for annual recertification in certain areas, as well as to students who will be visiting the lab as a standard part of teaching rounds. The lab can also be booked privately if students want to practise on their own time.

“Before, when the students came to the operating room, training started from scratch,” said Dr. Darrell Ogilvie-Harris, orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine. “Now, they are ready to go with a comprehensive set of skills they’ve picked up in the SIM lab – which not only saves us time teaching, but enhances patient safety.”

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