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McGuire VA Medical Center Unveils Simulation Center To Improve Skills

Dr. Michael Czekajlo, Medical Director, Simulation Center, Jonathan Nguyen Simulation Operation Specialist, “Mr. Sims,” Simulation Manikin.
Dr. Michael Czekajlo, Medical Director, Simulation Center, Jonathan Nguyen Simulation Operation Specialist, “Mr. Sims,” Simulation Manikin. (Photo: Charles Fishburne)

The McGuire VA Medical Center has just unveiled a “simulation center” which allows hospital employees to practice their skills on a high-tech manikin that can duplicate almost any human ailment. 

Jonathan Nguyen:   We can make him cough, we have moaning sounds, vomiting sounds.

Jonathan Nguyen is programming one of the high-tech manikins at McGuire they will use to teach everybody to improve their skills.

Dr. Michael Czekajlo:  Physicians, nurses.

Dr. Michael Czekajlo, Medical Director for the Simulation Center

Czekajlo:  All the trainees, so, fellow, residents, student nurses.

Even the cleaning crews. 

Czekajlo:  Health care is about the last industry to adopt this.

Fishburne:  So why use this?  Why not a human instead of a manikin?

Czekajlo:  Because the technology is so good right now.  We’ve gotten away from this idea of see one, do one, teach one.  And the other thing, I think most people would like somebody to have some practical skills before they touch them and have some of the fundamentals down.  That technology did not exist, this is all new, this all started in the late 60’s.  Really a lot of this is only the last 25-30 years.

And just as airline pilots learn on simulators, health care professionals at McGuire  are getting to know patient care thoroughly and safely.

 Czekajlo:  So if you are thinking of the new learner, it’s better to teach them for the first time on a manikin so they get the procedural skills down.  It’s almost like a flight simulator or something like that.  So you know the bells and whistles you know kind of what you are doing.  If you are talking somebody at my level, then what we are doing is optimizing our performance.  And some of the manikins we have here, are like the surgical manikins and Boston Children’s has done this, few other centers across the country before they do some complex surgeries, we can actually take the CT images and other radiology images, put it into the simulator, to have the surgeons operate on a complex surgery before they get to the actual human being.  Now you can see the benefits of that, because you can plan, look for potential problems and it is the actual person but virtually.  So it is not a video game, it is the actual person, so things go better. 

Nguyen:  Alright, Mr. Sim, how are you doing today?

Simulator:  Please, give me something for this pain, it hurts, really hurts!

Nguyen:  I am sorry, about how long have you been having this pain, Sir?

Simulator:  I’ve have had the pain for a couple of hours now. 

Nguyen:  Ok, so let me tell you what I am going to do…

Microphones and cameras capture the events as they unfold and trainees can replay it to see how they can improve.  Dr. Czekajlo says it is part of the VA Center’s mission.

Czekajlo:  We are really positioning ourselves to be a regional and national center of excellence here. So I think this is something that the people of Richmond and Virginia can be proud of.


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