"The future of surgery training": At boot camp, residents learn thoracic surgery with simulators

Resident physicians learn from a faculty member at the TSDA boot camp.About 40 first-year thoracic surgery resident physicians Bronchoscopefrom around the United States learned heart and lung surgery skills at a "boot camp" last week at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Much of the training was on simulators, which use pig hearts and lungs with mechanical circulation and ventilation. The simulators provide a lifelike setting for the residents to practice basic skills before they begin their training at their hospitals. Residents learn routine thoracic surgery techniques and how to deal with emergencies during surgery.

The boot camp, held July 27-29 at UNC's Friday Center, is sponsored by the Thoracic Surgery Directors Association (TSDA).  Richard Feins, M.D., of the UNC Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, was a director of the camp. About 30 surgeons from other universities came to UNC to assist with the training.

Reporter Cliff Bellamy of The Herald-Sun wrote about the training in an article published Sunday, July 29, 2012. Read the Herald-Sun story here.

Use of simulators is an efficient and safe way to teach surgical skills. “We really believe this is the future of surgery training,” Feins told the Herald-Sun.

Watch a WRAL video about the training here.

Dr. Feins is principal investigator of an eight-institution study of simulator training for resident physicians as a way to improve patient safety. The study is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Read more about the surgery simulation training at UNC  here, in an article published in UNC's research magazine, Endeavors.