Wayne State Med Students To Get Access to Latest Surgical Simulation Tools

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Greater Detroit announced last week that it has awarded $250,000 to finance the construction of nine web-enabled laparoscopic training simulators for residents and medical students on the Detroit Medical Center campus of Wayne State University’s School of Medicine.

This grant is intendede to give students access to the latest simulation technologies in developing their surgical skills.

“There’s a huge projected shortage of physicians, so training more doctors is important,” said Dr. David Bouwman, Walt Professor of Surgical Education at Wayne State, which has approximately 300 medical students. “Going along with that is the importance of building an educational infrastructure so you can train them well. The general trend is less hands-on training, and that’s where simulation is the answer. Simulators allow large numbers of students to get enough practice to have a skill.”

The ability to teach surgical residents and medical students the fundamental skills of surgery in a laboratory reduces the cost and improves the safety of care, Bouwman says. The simulators teach basic yet fundamental skill exercises like cutting patterns and learning how to tie a knot inside the body using laparoscopic instruments. The simulators also capture a student’s performance on video, and deliver video clips to the web, where trained observers score students on their timing and accuracy.

Medical school, Bouwman said, isn’t how it used to be “back in the old days” when he was a student. Back then, he said he observed 50 gall bladder operations as a med student and another 50 as a first-year resident before he’d finally be allowed to assist as a second-year resident.

“Hands-on training in the real world is thinning out,” Bouwman said. “But if residents are pre-trained, that helps make up for any missing experience.”

Bouwman also said Wayne State is on “the cutting edge” among the nation’s medical schools when it comes to utilizing technology to train a large number of students at once.

“Detroit isn’t known for having deep pockets, and yet we’re doing innovative research and more training with fewer resources than other schools,” he added.

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