Thursday 20 February, 2020

Watch: Ross Uni opens virtual doors to UWI

Ross University is delivering on its promise to share its expertise with students in Barbados beyond those on its register.

Yesterday, there was no showboating or gloating as Ross University took members of the University of West Indies, Cave Hill campus through the paces with a medical virtual simulation exercise.

Praising their simulation technology, David Pederson, Associate Dean - Simulation with Ross said that Ross is sharing its infrastructure because “This is essential training in 2019. We want practitioners, we want clinicians to go out and do a great job and to do that it takes practice to do that." And that's where he says the Ross simulation centre comes in handy. 

Ross University School of Medicine shifted its Medical Sciences campus from Dominica to Barbados earlier this year and had pledged to open its doors and equipment to local institutions.

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Home to an internationally accredited Simulation Institute, where students leverage sophisticated computerized patient simulators to practice basic and diagnostic treatment skills, Ross brought UWI inside its campus virtually.  The exchange was made possible due to Ross' technologically impressive laboratories for simulation learning and anatomy, including medical imaging capability.

Pederson told Loop News that the private for-profit international medical school with its main Barbados campus located in the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Two Mile Hill, St Michael, is reaching out to the University of the West Indies Cave Hill to collaborate in areas of medical education technology.

“When you build infrastructure like this you would like to be able to share where you can.  Medical Education is a global effort. We all help each other because we are all taking care of people.  Having a simulation centre of this type, of this level of sophistication accessible to other schools in the region where we can, we would like to be able to share that and work collaboratively to increase patient safety efficiency and help to better the health system for everyone.”

Ross’ facility is accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH).  According to its website, the Society is a non-profit membership society committed to furthering and supporting the science of healthcare simulation.  They support educators, healthcare providers, researchers, administrators, curriculum developers, technologists, and policymakers keep up to date with developments in the rapidly changing world of simulation-based education in healthcare.

While there are other simulation centres in the region, Ross is currently the only accredited SSH simulation centre in the Caribbean.

There are 16 rooms and Ross uses standardized patients - live human beings that portray illnesses and conditions that medical students can actually touch. Speaking to the benefits of working with actors from within the community where the school is located, Pederson said, "They can interview. You can have a variety of conditions that maybe these mannequin computers don’t do well." Ross has even advertised for actors recently across Barbados because as the Dean explained humans can have complicated histories, sophisticated histories etcetera, that computers cannot synthesize. 

However, speaking to the advantages of the computerized mannequins used as well, he added, “These mannequins will also let you shock them where a patient would not let you do this. There are advantages to both sides. On the other side, between the Harvey Mannequins and the simulators, we have five of the Harveys which are cardiopulmonary simulators and we have seven of these [mannequins] on this side of the building.”

He added each scenario that is run through with students takes as much as eight months to plan and perfect with the various outcomes.

“With simulation rooms controlled, we can make a situation more difficult or we can even make it easier depending on the learner’s skill level and how they are progressing.  In the real world with a real patient, we don’t control any of those things.  They may or may not respond based on many different variables and many different things happening but in here we control everything to get the outcome that we want and meet learning objectives." 

Using the simulation technology and computerized mannequins Pederson assured that students will be getting a lot of practice through repetition before they enter the real world. "For example, if I have students in the Emergency Department and I say today our lesson is Myocardial Infarction or heart attack, we would have to wait until one of those patients come in to treat that and to learn from that experience. In this environment, I can create a heart attack scenario over and over again, all day long.”

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