A crisis is a situation that, if not handled immediately and correctly, has the potential to be fatal for those involved or fatal for people in their care. Crisis management training utilizing computer driven simulators has been employed for many years in the space program, aviation and the nuclear power industry. Anesthesiologists were instrumental in bringing simulation to the medical community through the development of anesthesia simulators for training anesthesia residents. These patient simulators are now being used all across the country to train medical personnel for both routine and crisis situations. The anesthesia simulator provides replication of most of the important aspects of the clinical environment and is used for patient management raining in routine and crisis management situations.

The Department was an early adopter of this technology when we acquired our full-scale patient simulator in 1995. The simulator provides all pertinent body functions, including breathing, peripheral pulses, heart sounds and lung sounds. An automated drug recognition system provides for computer modeling of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of more than 70 drugs. Many different types of patients can be and each encounter may be modified for severity, duration, difficulty and patient response to treatment.

The simulator curriculum of the Department is distinct for the CA1-2 and CA3 years. Early in the CA1 year, the realistic anesthesia simulator is introduced along with a review of the importance of simulation training. The realistic simulator is used to teach the CA1 residents anesthesia machine setup, monitor operations and basic patient management techniques. Each resident completes an entire induction on the anesthesia simulator prior to inducing an actual patient.

CA1-2 residents continue to have regularly scheduled simulator sessions that are usually an unknown format . The complexity of cases presented progresses as required by the resident level of training. The exposure to simulation training in the CA1 and CA2 years will make the residents aware of the importance of simulation training. During the CA3 year, residents will be required to design a simulator session, with staff assistance, for presentation to CA2 residents.

The Department recognizes anesthesia simulators allow residents to experience both common and uncommon anesthetic events in a safe, non-threatening environment. The current curriculum has received excellent reviews from our residents and is constantly being updated and refined. More information concerning simulation in our Department is available by contacting Stephen Tarver, MD, Director of simulation education, at (913) 588-6670.

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