OU-Tulsa Opens Simulation Center

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- New technology is allowing OU-Tulsa students and medical residents to train for disastrous situations.  The school recently opened a Simulation Center.

OU-Tulsa says the Simulation Center is a first-of-its kind in northeast Oklahoma, and provides students with training they simply can't get in the classroom.

For example, one unfortunate guy was just in a car accident.  He lost his leg, he was bleeding profusely, and he was disoriented.  OU-Tulsa students needed to treat him, as well as calm him down.

"We can hone our skills and perfect our skills before a live situation like the field or the emergency department itself," said medical resident Eric Brown.

The room is one of six of what the school says are six cutting-edge simulation centers.  In another, people have just survived a tornado.

Congressman John Sullivan helped secure the funding, and took a tour of the facility on Thursday afternoon.

"We need more of these because we want people to be ready in these horrible situations, that unfortunately do occur," said Congressman John Sullivan.

The so-called patients which included a toddler are wired with software and programmed to behave like real people.  Doctors say the simulators are an invaluable teaching tool, and provide the residents with some much-needed experience without putting anyone's life at risk.

"You're practicing in a laboratory before you're out in the real field, at times when things can be life or death," said OU-Tulsa's Dr. Gerry Clancy.

Medical residents are now using the facility on a weekly basis.  Their instructors say their experiences in the simulators have already carried over into the emergency room.

"What they find is that when they are in real scenarios, the simulation has really helped them think clearly," said OU-Tulsa's Dr. Gerry Clancy.

Doctors say the idea for this technology was originally taken from airline simulators.  That's how pilots learn to deal with stressful situations, and medical professionals feel their residents should have to do the same thing.