The Challenge of Safe Surgical Training
My expertise is in sinus surgery. One of the principal ways I trained for this job was with practice – a lot of it, often using cadavers and various simulated environments designed for medical training. As it happens, the market for such technologies is growing. Although much of the fanfare these days surrounds the use of haptic feedback and digital software, there remains a strong demand for actual, visceral approaches to the craft of surgical training.
This article in Slate describes the life’s work of one woman whose decidedly low-tech approach to surgical training continues to influence the field:
No patient’s survival should depend on luck or happenstance; the only way to ensure that a doctor has the skills necessary to act in a broad range of emergencies is for her to practice, over and over. This ultimately brought Pugh here, where she runs the hospital’s simulation training center and is a leader in surgical education.
Read the whole thing for an enlightening and occasionally hilarious discussion of the many common household and store-bought items which can stand in for human anatomy in a pinch, including lima beans, pom-poms, clay and ice cube trays.
The point is to continue preparing and improving throughout your medical career, not to chuckle at the corporeal substitutes that get you there. I am a longstanding advocate of lifelong surgical focus and dedication, and greatly appreciate the work of Ms. Pugh.