Surgical Simulation Program Empowers Future Medical Professionals

Premier Pulse     February 2024

Laminectomy Fusion Capstone Project, December 2023 

Training future health care professionals to seamlessly collaborate in interdisciplinary teams is crucial. Given unprecedented staffing demands, mentorship and collaborative learning are key to building a clinical workforce pipeline. The educational focus for preparing tomorrow's surgical teams has shifted, prompting organizations and programs to adapt. Institutionalizing programs like the Surgical Simulation Program that involve students from local universities and medical schools can yield immediate benefits and long-term community returns on investment.

The Surgical Simulation Program exposes students to mentorship, hands-on educational opportunities, and collaborative learning. In surgical simulation sessions, medical students, nursing students, nurse anesthesia students and surgical technology students work together to do a simulated case in a live operating room, gaining invaluable insight into the intricate world of surgical procedures and the importance of interdisciplinary teamwork.

The lumbar fusion capstone project, completed in December 2023, included a hands-on Medtronic stealth navigation and hardware placement, didactic lectures on indications and post-op care, and a simulated operative case. During the capstone project, students performed intubation, positioning on an OR table, performing surgical exposure, and placing medical screws on cadavers. Concurrently, medical students engaged in didactic lectures covering surgery indications, pre-surgery patient preparation, and possible surgery-related complications.

The event also had the honor of a visit from interim Dean Gregory Toussant, Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and Vicki Evans, Wright State University Nursing School who expressed their support for such interdisciplinary educational initiatives.

They also explored dissected cadavers in the Brethen Center for Surgical Advancement to comprehend anatomy and the relationships among screws, nerves, and muscles. Sixty first- and second-year medical students from Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine, as well as students from Sinclair College Surgical Technology School, Wright State School of Nursing, University of Dayton’s Physician Assistant Program and Wright Patterson Airforce Base Nurse Anesthesia Program, participated in the program. Students were facilitated by Kelli Gruss, CRNA, Miami Valley Hospital Anesthesiology Services Network; Heidi Johnston, service line lead, Miami Valley Hospital; Kailey Nolan, project manager, Premier Health; Brittany Staarmann, MD, neurosurgeon, Premier Health; Joel Siegal MD, independent neurosurgeon, Key Clinics. Special thank you to the Brethen Center for Surgical Advancement. The event also had the honor of a visit from interim Dean Gregory Toussant of the Boonshoft Medical School and Vicki Evans of the Wright State Nursing School who expressed their support for such interdisciplinary educational initiatives. 

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