The captain peers out of the cockpit window at the runway below. Suddenly, an emergency light blinks on the flight panel. The controls seem stiff, unresponsive and one of the engines just conked out. This is his first flight, and he’s not sure what to do. Thankfully, the pilot in question was taking a training session in a flight simulator. He’ll walk away from his mistakes and learn from hours of virtual experience. When it comes time to fly a real plane, he’ll be prepared.
Simulation is improving how doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are being trained too. In fact, the rapid advances in computer modeling and AV technology have made medical simulation one of the most effective ways to educate healthcare providers. For example, the advantages of simulated learning systems include:
- Simulated Instruction: According to the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, virtual learning bridges the gap between the classroom and real-life experience. Lessons delivered via streaming video, desk-top simulators and mannequins with computerized sensors are just a few of the high-tech ways medical students are getting a more hands-on approach to their studies than they’d find in the traditional classroom. Simulated instruction provides students with a very realistic experience, but without putting patients at risk.
- Student Assessment: Conventional educational methods emphasize multiple choice tests, oral exams and written assignments. However, these methods are surrogates for competency not demonstrations of it. Simulation can replicate medical scenarios and tasks to a degree that is remarkably life-like. Therefore, medical simulators allow a more accurate assessment of student proficiency under conditions that are more realistic.
- Simulation-Based Research: Simulation is very useful when it comes to testing healthcare devices, procedures and even evaluating the effectiveness of training regimens. For instance, novel medical techniques or new ways of administering drugs can be tried out under simulated conditions.
- Organizational Evaluations: Simulation can help organizations and medical teams assess procedures and readiness. From disaster response to EMT training, simulated scenarios help institutions and health care professionals improve their programs.
Virtual learning offers numerous advantages over traditional methods. Thanks to AV technology and computer modeling, virtually any clinical situation can be simulated. As noted, medical students can make mistakes in such environment without putting patients at risk. Furthermore, simulated sessions can be recorded so that trainees can be assessed and debriefed.
Medical simulation can take many forms from low-tech (mannequins) to high-tech (3-D virtual reality simulators). The level of immersive experience necessary to train students will vary, but screen-based simulation offers a cost-efficient and educationally-effective way to help prepare the next generation of doctors, nurses and care providers. For example, streaming video lessons, the capacity to record and archive simulated sessions, and the ability of students to learn at their own pace are just a few of the benefits AV technology provides.
Simulation also offers students the chance to experience a wide range of medical scenarios, procedures and equipment. It can be used for basic education – Adobe Flash animations to teach students the fundamentals of physiology, for instance. Or it can be used as part of complex emergency and war game scenarios. No wonder, institutions like Johns Hopkins now see virtual training as the gold standard in medical education.
About Bob Higginbotham
Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at email@example.com