How UVM is using new technology to train the next generation of doctors

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:45 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2022 at 7:43 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - When you arrive at a hospital or doctor’s office, you want the best possible care you can get. Professionals inside the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont are ensuring that students filling emergency departments or doctors’ offices are trained to the highest potential before being put into the real world.

Inside UVM’s Clinical Simulation Laboratory, you’ll find the technology, scenarios and feel of a hospital with strict controls.

The lab works with two types of patients: actors trained to behave like real patients and high-tech mannequins that simulate human bodies and allow students to practice medical procedures.

“It’s very beneficial to being a surgery resident and learning how to practice surgery in a simulation setting,” said Dr. Berna Buyukozturk, a UVM Medical Center resident.

UVM medical residents Dr. Berna Buyukozturk and Dr. Carolina Jirka used the simulator to perform a catheter central line insertion.

“It gives us the ability to make mistakes, learn from our mistakes-- why did this happen? And gain a lot of knowledge we can bring into the clinical setting,” Jirka said.

Since this specific central line program began in the Sim Lab setting, the UVM Health Network has reported a significant drop in central line infections. Jirka credits the hands-on experience.

“Some of the decision-making we need to make in these situations but also practice the procedures,” Jirka said.

Around the corner from the central line procedure, a second-generation mannequin the Sim Lab acquired simulates a lifesaving scenario. They offer real-time readings, movement and sounds.

The lab has recently purchased infant, child and adult mannequins to offer a range of patients for students.

“It’s a great environment,” said Jim Court, a Sim Lab specialist.

Court has been working in the Simulation Lab since it opened and shows off the mannequins’ capabilities to offer a range of scenarios for lab attendees.

Learners include not only UVM medical students, but doctors and nurses from across the region who use the lab for the latest training and certifications.

They have also expanded to work with local fire departments for EMS training and brought in kids from the community to showcase health care jobs.

“Everyone thinks about doctors and nurses, but there is also phlebotomists, there are radiologists, there are ultrasound technicians, there are X-ray technicians,” Court said.

Court hopes by seeing simulations, they will be inspired to pursue a career in health care, and by learning on tech like this, the doctors believe the practice will pay off for patients.

“I do think simulation is making me a better future surgeon and provider,” Buyukozturk said. “Utilizing those tools in a real-life setting and applying those to your practice.”