Gaining hands-on experience for a medical professional is essential to improving patient care. In the past, students would observe and then practice on patients, but ethical and legal concerns left no room for possible mistakes. Mastering of skills such as suturing techniques cannot be achieved by merely observing the mentor or watching videos, and cadaver training is expensive and not always available.
Simulation-based learning allows students and tutors to overcome these issues by practicing extensively and being assessed objectively before working on patients.
What is Simulation-based training
Simulation-based training is a way to teach technical skills by using tools that resemble reality. One instance of this is the use of practice skin which helps students develop and practice various suturing techniques.
Due to ethical and legal issues related to practicing training surgical skills on living patients, animals, and cadavers, the need for proper alternatives has been increasingly necessary.
Over time, several types of skin replacements have been used in simulation-based medical education to develop both basic and advanced surgical skills needed. These skin replacements helped students to perform the fundamentals needed for practicing in the hospital and the community. The topic has gained its relevance among undergraduate and specialized practitioners.
Models used in the past have included perishable items such as fruits and vegetables or non-live animal tissue models such as chicken thighs and pigs' feet. But these options are not always practical, and the lack of authenticity related to the feel and the touch is evident.
Using those types of models doesn't allow students to train accurately on 3D procedures such as continuous sutures and interrupted sutures, or more advanced techniques. Often those models need to be stored in specific ways that are not conducive to a classroom setting.
Virtual reality (VR) is another form of simulation-based learning available but can be expensive and is not yet accessible to most, therefore, learning suturing skills on inanimate bench models has been the standard in medical and veterinary education.
What is Practice Skin
Practice skin is designed and manufactured to mimic the skin layers to behave like a real tissue and has a realistic feel when practicing procedures and suturing.
Practice skin has been a crucial tool over time for many students, and new technologies have made significant changes that have allowed for an increased level of realism to the products. The increased realism of the practice skin improves patient, student, and instructors' confidence. Nowadays, practice skins or suture pads are very close to replicating the living human tissue and have great value. Some models are also available to be used repeatedly. Practice skins are an efficient tool to gain confidence before operating on patients.
Quality suture pads can be used to develop suturing techniques, practice vascular access, or learn more advanced skills, such as I&D removal or punch and shaving a biopsy for testing.
Practicing on high-quality simulated skin with a specific number of realistic layers is essential to developing the appropriate experience students need to gain confidence in the classroom. It provides a form of realism without the risks of making errors or hurting the patient.
Practice skin made of synthetic material is an ideal product for training: it is incredibly easy to store, and the risk of infection associated with some other tools is non-existent.
Mastering the skills
Primary care doctors and physician assistants are managing an increasing number of skin lesions; therefore, it's necessary to be able to perform suturing procedures. The ability to close a wound is fundamental in general practice, and it is crucial to teach the skill correctly by using the adequate simulators available.
Affordable costs and reusability of a quality simulated skin make them the ideal model for students to use for developing and retaining surgical skills, especially when combined with feedback provided by a tutor. Medical students can increase their surgical acumen without any associated risks, starting from mastering the basic suturing patterns to more advanced techniques such as cricothyroidotomy, cyst removal/closure or cyst drain/closure.
The suture pads that SurgiReal offers are realistic, durable, and affordable. They were designed to be a perfect fit for medical students, veterinary students and nurse practitioners that want to practice suturing and laceration repair to become confident in their practice and achieve better outcomes.