The CMU College of Medicine Institute for Medical Simulation includes the Covenant HealthCare Medical Simulation Center in Saginaw, Michigan as well as our facilities on the university’s campus in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
When people read my title on my lab coat or scrubs, I am often asked:
“What is medical simulation?” Simply, medical simulation is creating an artificial system, or simulation, to mimic a real-life clinical situation, for medical training and development.
The ultimate goal of all medical simulation is to improve patient care and patient outcomes.
Medical simulation ranges from the very simple to the very complex. We have a host of “task trainers” that can help learners develop their dexterity and manual skills, from a simple blood draw to highly technical medical procedures. We often utilize actors, known as standardized patients, to act in the role of a patient, to develop learner skills in history taking and physical examination. Our most sophisticated simulations create complex medical scenarios that allow learners to develop their effectiveness in teamwork, communication, and medical care in emotionally charged situations.
Many people, simply from watching television or movies, are most familiar with what we call our high-fidelity simulators. These life-size manikins can perspire, bleed, cough, and talk. They have eyes that react to light, realistic heart and lung sounds, and pulses, for example. Some can even deliver babies! Our most sophisticated simulators now enter the realm of virtual reality, where our learners can perform complete surgical procedures in a virtual world. Put on the virtual reality goggles and you can now be in a fully staffed operating room, even if you are alone in the lab room.
We work in conjunction with our partnering hospitals, Covenant HealthCare and Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital, to train our CMU medical students and our physician residents in training. However, our “mission” also includes the training of staff physicians, nurses, medical assistants, local paramedics, air transport teams and other health care professionals. We travel “beyond our walls” to offer training in other regional medical centers. We have even developed a full curriculum for premedical college students pursuing careers in healthcare.
So, what can our Simulation Center do for you?
We are always exploring new opportunities to serve our neighbors and our healthcare providers with simulation-based education to create a community with the best medical care possible. Please feel free to call our Center with any questions, or to schedule a tour of our facility. We love to show off our outstanding laboratory and to share ideas of how to best utilize it in making patient care better.
Robert A. Sasso, MD, FACOG
Director of Medical Simulation