Archive for Monday, February 22, 2010

Doctors donate $200,000 for new KU Medical Center simulation center

Students would be able to learn in realistic setting

The Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education is one of many academic programs at Kansas University Medical Center that use patient simulators to train students.

The Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education is one of many academic programs at Kansas University Medical Center that use patient simulators to train students.

February 22, 2010


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.

Dr. James Kindscher

Dr. James Kindscher

Dr. Thomas O'Farrell

Dr. Thomas O'Farrell

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

“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.”


gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

Anyone interested in some more in-depth reading related to medical simulation or simulation in general might want to check out some of the papers on the I/ITSEC website. Or better yet, attend the I/ITSEC conference in December. Orlando's not a bad place to visit that time of year.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 9 months ago

So, can that dummy on the table hire an attorney? If not, it's not a "realistic setting".

gphawk89 7 years, 9 months ago

Very good point, OE2BYD. Having to consider the legal ramifications of every single one of your actions and decisions adds a whole new layer of pressure to an already stressful environment. Remove the wrong body part on a simulator? You just reset the simulation and do it again. Remove the wrong body part on a real person? End of your career; your life savings is gone. Same goes for flight simulators. I can put an extremely realistic, multi-million dollar F-15 flight simulator in a flat spin but feel absolutely no stress because I know that when I hit the ground, the screen will just turn red and I get out and walk away. In that sense, no simulator is going to provide a "realistic setting" no matter how realistic it tries to be. But they're still way better than just books and lectures.

jayhawknurse1 7 years, 9 months ago

As a student in the school of nursing, I have worked on these dummies. No, nothing can replace the experience that a real life situation provides. However, these simulated experiences are a good way to practice your techniques and on-the-spot critical thinking skills before taking it to the real life arena. And I would not say they are stress free...maybe for some...but being on the other side of a two-way mirror and having your actions evaluated is never stress free, for me. Anyhow, I felt kind of silly talking to and treating a mannequin like a real person, but in retrospect, they are useful learning tools and are worth the investment.

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