Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Center for Applied Learning Tour

Eleven Carpenter Library staff members had the privilege of touring the Center for Applied Learning on Thursday, April 30, 2009. Tour guide and coordinator of the Center Serene Mirkis shared interesting information about the Virtual Hospital, Surgical Services Academy and Skills Development Center as well as the Operating Room Simulation Laboratory.

The purpose of all these areas is for different kinds of students and practicing medical personnel to learn and hone their skills, whether it is nursing, therapy or surgical skills.

The Virtual Hospital, located in the Progressive Care building, was developed by Winston-Salem State University and WFUBMC for nursing, occupational and recreational therapy students. There are three life-like, computer-controlled models or simulation “patients” for students to practice basic skills. The male model has interchangeable parts so he can be a female too. He also bleeds and cries. There is a pregnant female model as well as a baby model for students to use. Students are given mock scenarios in a hospital clinic setting as well as a home health setting.

The Surgical Services Academy and Skills Development Center was started about 10 years ago by the Department of Anesthesiology. Currently, medical students, residents, nurses, operating room technicians and practicing physicians use the center to learn or hone their skills. Center organizers hope to expand it to become a National Center for Applied Learning for use by affiliate and regional medical personnel as well as WFUBMC employees.

The Center has a mock emergency department and intensive care area where medical students, nurses and emergency personnel practice on the computer-controlled models which are sensitive to light and touch. The models do not have names that stay with them but they are given names and symptoms during the scenarios. During a crisis scenario, participants give the models names of famous surgeons.

Besides the emergency care area, the Center contains an area for scrubbing skills (process of becoming sterile for surgery) and a mock operating room equipped for the scenario to be recorded or a live feed sent out for people to watch. After the scenario, participants go to a control room to discuss the scenario. Since good communication is the key and often saves a life in the operating room, the mock OR is a safe place to practice and retain skills as well as learn what to do in uncommon situations.

And remembering this tour is what a lot of us will do especially since we got to use the machines made by Karl Storz Inc. to practice depth perception for laparoscopic surgery. We also played around with a sewing board for suturing skin as well as some other “table-top” items, all for honing surgery skills.

As stated above, the goal is to expand this Center into a national one. The Center will also be a part of a vision of a central education building that will house all the education areas of WFUBMC, such as Carpenter Library. And that is why it is not only interesting but important for communication and patient care to know what our fellow coworkers do on a daily basis.