Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Traumatic scenarios provide valuable learning

Traumatic scenes similar to those more commonly experienced in a hospital emergency department faced Monash Rural Health Bendigo medical students recently when they fronted up to class.

Luckily, the critically injured man they encountered in the school’s auditorium was a simulated patient volunteering his time to help the third year students build their clinical skills.

A simulated emergency started Trauma Day.

A series of simulation-based activities continued into the afternoon, with students rotating through skills stations requiring them to attempt a range of novel tasks, including airway management skills using simulation mannequins and sheep carcasses to learn how to insert thoracic drain tubes to treat a punctured lung.

The range of scenarios were presented to students as part of Monash Rural Health’s annual Trauma Day, coordinated by senior lecturers at the school and made possible by senior surgical consultants and anaesthetists from Bendigo Health who volunteer their time and expertise to help lead the activities.

Monash senior lecturer Adele Callaghan said student feedback following the day was uniformly positive, with all of them welcoming the opportunity for hands-on experience, saying each session supported key learnings in their course and encouraged reflection.

Clinical simulation is used as a powerful learning and teaching tool, providing structured opportunities for students to practice new skills in a safe environment.

Ms Callaghan said Trauma Day provided the chance for students to bring their skills together to work through one scenario, but from many perspectives. “In this case, we had a young man who had fallen from a ladder and sustained a chest wound which could not be seen, however his condition deteriorates as students move through their assessments and it ends up being diagnosed as pneumothorax (where air leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall causing the lung to collapse),” she said.

All sessions are built around addressing this condition, including the problem-based scenarios hosted in tutorial rooms.

Students Zena Barakat and Mark Fogarty learn how to insert a thoracic catheter in a sheep carcass

“This is such an exciting introduction to trauma assessment using simulation,” Ms Callaghan said, adding that ‘fully immersive’ simulation and skills-based teaching is embedded in the year three curriculum continuum.  “However, having this level of simulation engagement with the senior doctors and surgeons from Bendigo Health is really valuable,” she added.

Consultants who volunteered their time to participate in the day were Dr Andrea Noar, Dr Simon Smith, Mr Tony Gray, Mr Manny Cao and Mr Graeme Campbell.

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