Before-the-job training: UT Medical Simulation Center earns top accreditation
From Staff Reports
There was a time barbers with their cutting skills and instruments were the surgeons of the world.
Modern medicine is far removed from those days, but surgeons still have to develop their abilities before performing on an actual patient.
That’s where the University of Tennessee Center for Advanced Medical Simulation steps up.
According to the American College of Surgeons, UT’s simulation center knows what it’s doing and does it well.
The center recently became the only facility in Tennessee and one of just 67 in the world to earn accreditation as a Level I Comprehensive Accredited Education Institute from the surgeons’ group.
The Level I designation is the top accreditation available.
The co-directors of the center believe the accreditation reflects the availability of advanced education and training through simulation in the Knoxville region.
Accreditation brings opportunity
“With accreditation comes the opportunity and encouragement to collaborate with other institutes on research efforts,” said Dr. Leonard Hines, co-director of the UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation.
“This will expand our initiatives directed toward continually improving the quality of medical education and patient safety.”
Hines and co-director Dr. Paul Huffstutter, both longtime vascular and general surgeons, are assistant professors at the UT Graduate School of Medicine on the campus of The University of Tennessee Medical Center.
They’ve seen the center expand from 400 to 6,500 square feet since it opened in 2007.
Today’s center includes several replicated outpatient exam rooms, a dental room where dentists simulate reactions to local anesthetic to prepare practitioners for real-time situations.
The skills lab is the most frequently used site at the center.
Medical professionals have resources to basic skills such as knot tying and suture models to more advanced models like the laparoscopic trainers that enhance hand/eye coordination.
Partial-task trainers are available for procedures using ultrasound direction.
Perhaps the most important component of the center is the audio-visual control room where all activities can be monitored, recorded, controlled and fed to other areas of the center for educational and debriefing purposes.
The control room overlooks the birthing suite, patient room and operating room.
The operating room is fully furnished with realistic lighting, OR table, surgical instruments and anesthesia machine.
The co-directors said they appreciate that new and experienced clinicians, regardless of health care system affiliation, can train and advance their skills at the center.
“Achieving accreditation is more than a reflection of the continued emphasis on excellence in education and technological advances at the Graduate School of Medicine and UT Medical Center,” said Huffstutter. It also encourages the availability of simulation activities to all members of the health care team in the entire region.
In promoting safer and higher quality health care, the center is a valuable asset to the medical community and the many patients served.”