An Introduction to Medical Simulation Training

Medical simulation training uses "high fidelity" manikins in place of actual patients, to present trainees with the physiological elements of human conditions.

"High fidelity" manikins are complex, life-like robots which, under computer control, mimic almost every known human physical condition. They have skin that can be pierced, cut and sutured, as well as bones and organs that can be observed, felt and removed. Currently, a state-of-the-art adult female robot, for example, can have a heartbeat, working arteries and veins and she can move, talk, breath and even give "birth" to an infant manikin that can then perform similar functions. These interactive manikins bring realistic training opportunities.

Medical schools and accredited medical education programs are using competency-based curricula, with more rigorous performance measurements. The traditional training approach with actual patients is not an effective way to train because patient conditions vary and many important conditions occur infrequently.

Simulation provides effective solutions for the comprehensive training of multiple competencies, simultaneously and repetitively, and is rapidly becoming a vital component of medical education. It allows the gap to be bridged between classroom and "real-life" experience, challenging the trainee to make critical decisions and then witness the results of those decisions in a controlled, observed and patient-safe environment with faculty and peer feedback.

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