VCOM using simulated patients to teach students in Blacksburg

BLACKSBURG, VA --

Despite his blinking eyes, he looks like a turn-of-the-century crash test dummy, but SIM Guy 3G at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg could be turning out better doctors.

"He has heart sounds, he has lung sounds, both on the front and the back just like you or I, he breathes," said Edward Watson, Director of the VCOM Simulation Center.

While the technology isn't new here, said Watson, it is evolving, and moving into medical schools across the world, mainly because SIM guy allows first-year med students to mess up.

SIM Guy allows medical students to work on high risk health issues in a low risk environment, meaning they cannot be sued if something goes wrong, because he is not human.

"It gives us a chance to make a mistake if we have to and that way we don't do it on a real patient," said Van Desa, a first-year medical student at VCOM.

"This is not happening on the general public, and they can make all the mistakes in the world they want to make until they refine their skills," said Watson.

However, do not expect human interaction to go away anytime soon.

"We have a real person that can demonstrate emotion, we have a talking person, a person that's been trained to portray a specific complaint," said Kay Lucas, Director of Standardized Patients at VCOM.

"You just make a relationship with your patients. It's just fun. There is a lot of learning that goes on putting pieces together that you've learned in the classroom," said Clayton Hearn, a first-year medical student at VCOM.

In the classroom is where students still need this old teaching method to pass their boards, and one day, just maybe become your doctor.

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By CapitalBay Online 06/14/2012 21:30:00