Clinical skills training in medical education is on the cusp of change. Increased pressure on the healthcare system to be safer has caused the current Master- Apprentice model of training to fall under scrutiny. The current model has many shortcomings pertaining to patient safety as training is done with real patients; time constraints on training because of shortened resident working hours; and the lack of uniformity in training as trainees are limited to only learning about clinical cases that their patients’ present. Medical simulation can effectively address these shortcomings.
Medical simulation is defined as “devices, life-like virtual environments and contrived social situations that mimic problems, events or conditions that arise in professional [medical] encounters”
Simulation training has evolved and is now able to offer numerous training opportunities to supplement the practice of and overcome some of the shortcomings of the traditional Master-Apprentice model currently used in medical training. Simulation training provides new opportunities to practice skills used in clinical procedures, crisis management scenarios, and everyday clinical practice in a risk-free environment.
Procedural and nonprocedural skills used in interventional radiology can be taught with the use of simulation devices and technologies.
Interventional radiology (IR) is a specialty where medical simulation training can be especially beneficial. Because of advances in medical imaging, diagnostic angiographic procedures have become less common, reducing the number of opportunities for trainees to practice basic catheter manipulation skills. Additionally, specialists outside of IR are also interested in acquiring these skills.
By adopting simulation training, trainees from all specialties will have the opportunity to learn these skills. Adding simulation will bring IR into the new era of medical training pioneered by anesthesiology, gynecology, and emergency medicine, specialities that have already implemented simulation training to supplement the apprenticeship model.
The widespread use of simulation in the anesthesiology, gynecology, and emergency medicine, specialities has triggered institutional support with the creation of a Joint Medical Simulation Task Force in 2007 by the Radiology Society of North America, Society of Interventional Radiologists, and Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe.
The Task Force’s mandate is to improve patient care by guiding the implementation of simulation in IR. The Food and Drug Administration is another institution driving the adoption of simulation training by stipulating that physicians must undergo proficiency training on a simulator before performing carotid artery stenting (CAS).
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