Simulator helps train doctors

April 19, 2009 8:42:05 AM PDT
We've seen many advances in the technology doctors in the hospital are using. And now we're also seeing advances in the way medical students are learning.

The latest is a simulator used to teach new doctors how to perform surgery laproscopically.

Christina DuPree is a first-year resident at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, on her way to becoming an Ob-gyn doctor.

She's already learning how to do surgeries laproscopically, with the help of a simulator.

In laproscopic surgery, doctors insert small tools and a scope through a few small openings, instead of making a large incision.

The simulator gives students the chance to use those tools and learn the skills of this less-invasive surgery before going into the operating room.

"In here you have the opportunity to make mistakes and it's not going to be life-threatening to the patient," DuPree said.

For Renee Hypolyte, also a first-year resident, it's helping her choose which tools work best for her. She says getting the practice helps build confidence.

"In the beginning, it's a little more difficult, just because it's something I'm not used to but the more you do it, the better you get," Hypolyte said.

The simulator can be set up to teach numerous different surgeries, and experts say it feels like the real thing.

Dr. Saul Jeck says when he learned laproscopic surgery, he practiced on animals. But, as the procedure becomes more popular, he says the simulator is better because students can practice more often.

"It's like anything else, practice makes perfect, " Dr. Jeck said.

PCOM is just one many medical schools using this new technology.

There are also other simulators to help teach students how to deliver babies, treat trauma patients, and identify heart sounds.

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