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My Portfolio > Article Archive > WISER Provides Hands-On Introduction to Simulation for Bioengineering Students

WISER Provides Hands-On Introduction to Simulation for Bioengineering Students
WISER Provides Hands-On Introduction to Simulation for Bioengineering Students

For the 3rd consecutive year, WISER recently welcomed students from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Bioengineering's senior design course for a morning-long workshop on the practice and technology of healthcare simulation. This year 50 students participated in the workshop led by Dr. Joseph Samosky, Director of R&D for Healthcare Simulation. The interactive program introduced the students to simulation and offered them direct, hands-on exposure to a variety of different simulation experiences. Design course director Dr. Mark Gartner enthused, "This is perhaps the single most intense (and perhaps valuable) experiential learning event in their undergraduate education."

Dr. Samosky presented an overview of simulation with an emphasis on its role in promoting patient safety, and provided a survey of current simulation technologies, the architecture of simulation systems and next-generation research and engineering challenges. The students then divided into small groups and rotated through five different hands-on round-robin sessions. These small-group sessions included: (1) an introduction to the SimMan and Harvey simulators, presented by Dr. Samosky and coordinator of simulation services Melissa Wanker, (2) code team response, led by simulation specialist Josh Franczyk, (3) an introduction to airway management, hosted by Dr. William McIvor, (4) pediatric critical care, presented by Dr. Melinda Fiedor-Hamilton with sim specialist Nichole Erny and (5) first-hand practice in fiber-optic bronchoscopy, led by sim specialist Jon Mazur.

"The Pitt bioengineering students are tremendously bright, energetic and committed," said Dr. Samosky, "And last year two very successful projects resulted from our collaboration with the senior design class." Salim Olia, a student in a team now working on a project related to dialysis training with Dr. Samosky, said, "It is clear that the simulations are priceless in training those in healthcare. I learned my lesson after attempting to intubate the pediatric patient and ending up with the endotracheal tube in the right bronchus." Student Dana Bruck similarly appreciated the experience: "I was completely enthralled by the work that each of you do and the overall purpose and goals that you are trying to accomplish within the medical field."

Prior to the workshop, an invitation was extended to WISER faculty and members of UPMC's Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation to submit ideas for student projects related to simulation and patient safety. These ideas were presented to the students at the conclusion of the workshop. The response this year was enthusiastic: five different design projects are now underway involving a total of 22 students. These project teams will be mentored by Dr. Samosky in partnership with relevant clinical experts from Pitt and UPMC. The students will develop the projects over the course of both the fall and spring semesters, build prototype systems and make final presentations at a campus-wide event next April.

Dr. Joseph Samosky presents an overview of simulation-based training and technology to the Pitt Department of Bioengineering senior design class.
Dr. William McIvor leads a small-group session on airway management and anesthesiology.
A group of bioengineering students tries their hand at managing a pediatric critical care medicine scenario under the mentorship of Dr. Melinda Fiedor-Hamilton.