Last week, my friends and I saved a man who just had a heart attack!! OK, well it wasn’t really a living man, but it was close… It was Sim Man, a robot patient who has a pulse, beating heart, lung sounds, gastrointestinal sounds, EKG/Blood gases monitor, and who talks and even responds to your questions (albeit via the instructor controlling the responses through the computer)! You can give him “drugs” that he’ll physiologically respond to. You can intubate him, give him IV fluids, or oxygen. He’s the closest thing to a real patient without the worries of accidentally killing anyone, and I’m glad I got to experience working with him first before being sent off to the real world.
In the beginning of the Sim Man workshop, we went over some of the protocols and algorithms of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). After practicing some intubation skills, we got into teams of 3-4 students, each playing a role as a doctor, respiratory technician, or nurse. I joined Eileen, Abe, and Nick and together we worked (or at least tried) as a medical team to receive and respond to an ER patient.
Because everyone else on my team called for the other roles, I was put into the role as the doctor by default, and I gotta admit, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. Somehow when a case vignette is written on paper, like during a block exam or something, it’s much easier to understand and decide what answer choice to pick. However, when it’s being played out in front of you, with Sim-man rapidly becoming unresponsive before your eyes and with the EKG monitor going berzerk (and beeping loud), and seeing his oxygen falling rapidly on the monitor, it’s much more difficult deciding what to do, and doing it. There’s the element of stress and added distractions. Then there’s the element of time involved… Because of our delays in decisions and actions, we ended up almost killing our patient, but only revived him after three cycles of CPR and AED. But at least Sim Man was good to us and his vitals finally stabilized and he survived. It was not so with the team after us!
Taught by Dr. Plochocki, the Sim Man workshop at AUC is an optional learning experience open to students taking Intro to Clinical Medicine 5. I thought it was a great experience, and recommend it. We were required to wear our white coats and bring our own stethoscopes. The Sim Man room is located in the anatomy office wing of the main building. During the case, you have the option to video record your team’s performance and look back at it to see how you can improve.