Baystate Medical Center on cutting edge of care(#1) Clinical Nurse Specialist for Newborn Intensive Care Unit Susan Chamberlain works on BabySIM "Jimmy Little." (#2) Nurse Educator Specialist Denise Schoen explains the complex scenarios that can be acted out. Behind her the simulator's heartbeat is visible on the monitor.
By Natasha Clark
Assistant Managing Editor
SPRINGFIELD Baystate Medical Center continues to be on the verge of cutting edge technology in the healthcare industry. Last week hospital personnel unveiled the $2 million Baystate Stimulation Center and Goldberg Surgical Skills Lab, one of only 27 Level One Comprehensive Education Institutes accredited by the American College of Surgeons.
The center will afford the over 300 residents and fellows training at Baystate and medical students and nurses the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills through true to life simulation exercises that come as close to treating a real patient as possible. Hundreds of scenarios are available via a virtual reality medical/surgical training system and high-fidelity adult and child simulators.
Dr. Richard Wait, chair of the Department of Surgery, said medicine was in the middle of a revolution in the the late '90s what was once invasive surgeries were turning into minimally invasive procedures and new teaching techniques were emerging. After Dr. Neal Seymour, director of Baystate Simulation Center, came on in 2003 from Yale School of Medicine, more concentration began on the center and interdisciplinary work.
Seymour said other fields such as the military and aviation practice their drills countless times through simulation and that the medical sector has been late to this table.
"There is no excuse for that considering what the stakes are," Seymour said.
Wait explained that the center allows students to do surgeries "to the point of competency before we even do it on a patient."
Virtual-reality simulators provide life-like surgical anatomy. It also has the ability to record the learner's performance during each session and offers immediate review and feedback. Students can practice surgical knot tying, laparoscopic surgical techniques, chest tube insertion, tissue manipulation and more.
There are three training rooms complete with medical equipment and five simulators including a 126 pound iStan a $250,000 wireless and battery operated mannequin with human-like skin has the capability to blink, breathe, maintain a pulse and respond to medication and BabySIM, a six to nine-month old infant simulator.
The equipment and advanced simulators are products of Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI), a 12 year-old company that develops medical education programs and learning tools.
Baystate Medical Center collaborates with a number of schools and universities, including Tufts. Medical students from Tufts will work in the center several times a week. The average student completes about six to 10 direct student learning hours per rotation. Residents' times vary. Some may get in up to four hours per week in the center.
"This has become a project that has taken on a life of its own," Seymour said. "This is an opportunity [for Baystate] to be an academic engine."