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Patient simulator helps teach veterinary anesthesia
GAINESVILLE, FLA.- The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UF) is believed to be the first to train students using a human patient simulator to learn anesthesia techniques.
GAINESVILLE, FLA.— The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UF) is believed to be the first to train students using a human patient simulator to learn anesthesia techniques.
The simulators imitate real-life situations and have been used to train students in everything from emergency medicine to space flight. Educators at the university say the experience will make a difference in enhancing student's confidence in handling emergency situations.
Shauna Cantwell, DVM, assistant professor of anesthesia at the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Medicine, has taken the simulator to professional meetings to demonstrate its use to a group of veterinarians, veterinary students and veterinary technicians.
"It was exciting for students to work with; it made them deal with real-life scenarios, permitted them to learn without subjecting live patients to complications and enabled them to retrace their steps when their therapy did not correct the simulated patient's problems," Cantwell says.
UF requires veterinary students to be exposed to the simulator as part of their education. Students in the clinical training phase of their curriculum spend two hours working with the simulators as part of a two-week rotation in anesthesia.
The simulator uses a special computer program that controls the values for physiologic parameters, a bar-coded intravenous injection site and a urinary catheter. The "patient" is connected to a complete clinical anesthesia machine and to a mechanical ventilator. The simulator can monitor blood and arterial pressure, temperature, cardiac output, and respiratory and anesthetic gases while an instructor controls what disease states or physiologic symptoms will be presented to the student. The simulator adjusts the patient's response automatically.
"Students exposed to the human simulator are better equipped to make important decisions and deal with the consequences of their decisions," Cantwell says.