Investing in sophisticated medical simulation training equipment: is it really worth it
The acquisition of important life-saving skills, based on the fundamentals of a range of key physiological, biological, and pharmacological principles is paramount to nursing, medical and paramedical education. Over the years, the advancement of technology has enabled the commercialisation of ever more sophisticated and realistic training tools which can play a very important role in the acquisition of skills. The application of such developments goes back to the studies of cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills using the first Laerdal Resusci-Ann manikins (Lind, 1961) and the development of the early full-scale patient simulators started in the 1960’s (Abrahamson & Wallace 1980). Nowadays, for example, the newer training tools allow for educational studies involving sophisticated virtual reality simulators for ureteroscopy training (Jacomides et al 2004). However all this training fanciness comes to a price that is not financially affordable by all training centres and one may wonder if it is really cost effective or even necessary to make such investments for training purposes. Could it simply be a “technico-educational” trend started by fiddly clinical tutors and biomedical engineers or is it really bringing added value to the learning experience of our students and trainees? The reason behind this article is to elucidate those points from my personal perspective, as a trained engineer/physicist working in a Higher Education Institution, managing the operations of a medical simulation centre (HICESC 2005) and facilitating medical simulation training courses for students from different disciplines, and also a member of the Executive Committee (Secretary) of the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM).