KARACHI: Medical students and nursing staff will now have a chance to practice surgeries on manikins in a safe environment, rather than learning surgeries on human bodies.
The Aga Khan University (AKU) has introduced Pakistan’s first medical simulation centre, the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME). The centre is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and simulation manikins, providing a safe, risk-free environment for medical graduates, post graduates, nursing staff and allied health students as well as healthcare professionals to practice on. Students performing practice surgeries at the CIME will be monitored by senior faculty members and their work will also be recorded, so that they can learn from and overcome their mistakes before conducting real surgeries in hospitals.
A wheezing two-year-old is brought to the emergency room with a respiratory problem. Attached to a monitor, his lips begin to turn blue and he displays signs of having difficulty in breathing. The nursing students have just a few minutes to correctly diagnose and resuscitate the child simulator. A faculty member observes the students dealing with critical patients and shares his observations with them at the end of the one-hour session.
In another room, a group of students sit and discuss their latest case scenario on sepsis. As they work through the problem, one of them writes and saves notes on a 55-inch touch screen tablet. An examiner, on the other side of an observation window, records their discussion.
A clean, safe and realistic environment has been created in the centre, including wards, a debriefing room, paediatric resuscitation room, dental simulation lab and gynaecological room. The senior doctors are busy observing students practice surgeries.
AKU’s medical college dean Dr Farhat Abbas welcomed the guests as the CIME was inaugurated on Friday afternoon. “Thirty years ago, when I was in medical college, my training was exclusively based on on-the-job exposure,” he said. “We didn’t have simulators. We didn’t have clinical case discussions. We rarely ever received feedback on how we responded to a simulation.” Through this centre, Dr Abbas said they will provide high-tech education for current and future healthcare students and professionals, allow practice that reduces medical errors, improve patient safety and raise the quality of healthcare services in the country, he explained.
“[The centre] is open for all health professionals – both from private or public hospitals or colleges,” claimed Dr Abbas. AKU president Firoz Rasul said it is one of the most ambitious projects to have been undertaken.
“This centre represents an investment in academic excellence at AKU,” he said. “The centre ensures that we are a model of innovation in the education we impart and the outstanding clinical training we offer to graduate doctors, nurses and allied health professionals,” he added. According to the AKU management, with a total cost of $15 million, the centre has been funded by generous donors and will be available to the wider health services community in the public and private sectors in the region.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2015.