Medical Mannequins

by Jehan Bista

As medically related technology has become more cutting-edge and universal, medical schools throughout the nation have put it in their best interests to provide their students with the most up-to-date resources in order to maximize the students’ learning and exposure to medicine.  As a fellow Arizonian myself, I thought I would share some interesting health-related advancements made in my home state in order to illustrate a larger trend among medical schools across the nation.

The Center for Stimulation and Innovation (CSI), which opened in July 2012, is a 9,600-square-foot complex dedicated to furthering medical education at the University of Arizona Medical School. The facilities, which consist of five mock hospital rooms, five debriefing rooms, and a surgical station (among other things), serve to give medical students hands-on experience in an artificially created medical environment in order to minimize the number of future errors they make in the real world.  Students can now utilize an effective tool in order to acquire practical experience before venturing off into real practice: mannequins.

The simulation hospital rooms located in CSI currently have nine full body mannequins available for use. The mannequins, which range from 50,000 to 110,000 dollars, are expensive, state-of-the-art machines that accurately imitate several facets of human behavior including (but not limited to) talking, sweating, breathing, groaning, having an artificial “blood flow” and pulse, and excreting bodily fluids. 

During each simulation procedure, an experienced group of professionals assists the students: an attending physician, an intern (1st year resident), a chief resident, and other health-related specialists, including a nurse, a radiology technician, and a pharmacologist. Multiple specialists are brought together in order to demonstrate that complex health-related issues can only be solved when input from multiple areas of expertise are brought together.

The mannequins document the entirety of their interactions with the students, enabling the students to receive sufficient feedback on their treatment methods after each session. Overall, the mannequins are useful tools because not only do they expose medical students to complex medical dilemmas before residency, but they also further the students’ confidence in handling such situations.  In the past, such technology was only available to residents, and many medical schools did not have access to such facilities.

The fact that the medical students at the University of Arizona now have access to this type of simulation lab for all four years of their education demonstrates just how widespread, accessible, and integral such technology has become to the medical school curriculum. As more and more medical schools throughout the country begin to incorporate these tools into their programs, medical students can rest assured that they will be prepared to handle complicated health-related issues on their own in the future.

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