Books and lectures are yesterday’s medical learning tools.
Today, Kansas University Medical Center students use high-tech mannequins and equipment to hone their skills.
Building a ‘legacy’
For information about making a gift, contact Nell Lucas, KU Endowment assistant vice president for medical development, at (913) 588-5551 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is a great legacy project,” said Dr. James Kindscher, one of the donors. “I think people who can get behind this and support this are making a long-term commitment to health care training.”
Prospective surgeons, for example, can do a laparoscopic gall bladder removal without ever touching a patient. Instead, they use hardware that presents a real-world scenario.
Dr. James Kindscher, professor and chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the School of Medicine, said medical simulation has been around for at least 10 years, but the technology has improved during the past few years.
“It’s an exciting way of teaching and learning,” he said.
It’s being used in classrooms throughout KU Medical Center, including the Department of Anesthesiology, where students practice on mannequins. The problem is they don’t get to practice in a surgery setting.
“You can imagine a scenario where you are in the operating room and there is a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and operating nurses all working together,” Kindscher said. “But, we kind of train separately in our own individual crafts.”
He hopes that changes soon.
Kindscher and his wife, Anne, of Overland Park, donated $100,000 for a new simulation center at KU that would be equipped with mannequins and equipment representing a variety of medical conditions. It would include intensive care and surgical and emergency rooms, as well as areas where students meet with actors who portray patients.
“In a simulation center, you can create a scenario where we are learning how to communicate with each other and how we can ensure the best patient outcomes,” said Kindscher, who received his medical degree at KU in 1982.
Plans call for the center to be located on an additional floor to be built at Dykes Library. The center would occupy about 20,000 square feet.
Dr. Thomas O’Farrell, and his wife, Nancy, of Prairie Village, also contributed $100,000. O’Farrell, a retired vascular surgeon, earned his medical degree at KU in 1960.
Kindscher, who chaired a committee that evaluated the status of simulation training at KU and submitted a report to the vice chancellor, didn’t provide a cost estimate for the center, but said it would be “very expensive.”
Besides construction and equipment costs, KU will need to hire personnel.
“The most important part is the debriefing where you videotape the whole process and then you play it back to the students and you show what happened during the scenario that they may have missed,” he said.
It is estimated that thousands of training sessions will take place annually inside the center. Students, residents, fellows or KU Hospital personnel could train in teams and gain feedback from instructors and peers, as well as review their own performances.
“It makes so much more sense to practice in a simulation environment before you actually start practicing on real patients. It’s a patient-safety issue. It’s a quality-of-training issue. This is the way health care training is moving.”
— Dr. James Kindscher
Barbara Atkinson, executive vice chancellor of the KU Medical Center, agrees.
“It is almost certain that licensing agencies for schools of medicine, nursing and allied health will introduce standards that will make simulation training essential for student education,” she said in a release. “We should be the leader in our region in providing the most advanced level of simulation training.”