The University of North Carolina's Department of Anesthesiology aggressively explores new learning techniques. We are committed to providing our residents with state-of-the-art educational tools. In keeping with commitment we have both pediatric and adult Human Patient Simulators for medical student and resident education and for research. Since December 1994, the Department of Anesthesiology has been a national leader in the use of Human Patient Simulator. The simulators, manufactured by Medical Educational Technologies Inc. (METI), are two of only a few such devices worldwide.
About the Simulator
Simulators replicate the entire anesthesia work environment. Simulator setups include a patient manikin on an operating table, an anesthesia gas machine, monitoring instruments, delivery systems for intravenous fluids and medication, and computers and other electronic equipment. These items are necessary to control the simulator and provide appropriate pharmacological signals and physiological responses.
The METI simulators used by the Department of Anesthesiology are designed to breathe and exchange respiratory gases, exhibit normal and abnormal heart and breath sounds, have a pulse, talk, and have papillary movement and eyes that open and close. Physiologic and pharmacological models of healthy, pregnant, and acutely or chronically ill individuals are incorporated into the software. Furthermore, medications can be administered to the patient and dosages are sensed with bar code readers and sensitive scales in order to invoke appropriate responses.
Anesthesiology faculty versed in primary care, surgical and pediatric care, respiratory physiology, and pharmacology lead instructor-directed scenarios and demonstrations using the simulators. All Anesthesiology residents have exposure to the simulators during their orientation and subsequently throughout their training as their skills in anesthesiology evolve. Problems occurring in the operating room will also be demonstrated using simulators so that all of the residents can share the educational benefits of actual clinical events. The Department also uses the Human Patient Simulator in the instruction of medical students in two Life Support Skills courses. The use of simulators in education allows students to apply, perform, and evaluate previously learned skills in an operating room environment. Anesthesiology residents have the opportunity to use the Human Patient Simulator to teach medical students during these courses.