Whether your idea of medical internships comes from television hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs or personal experience, the situation has historically been pretty standard: interns dive into a medical environment and – guided by seasoned physicians – learn as they go.
We say “historically standard” because the University of Minnesota Medical School has taken a different approach.
To better prepare interns for their work with patients, professors in the University of Minnesota’s Medical School have taken a new approach to training their incoming residents: Instead of having interns start their programs in medical facilities, the students participate in a 30 hour intensive training course using the same ultrasound technology currently used in critical diagnosis.
“Our ultrasonography simulator program gives students the opportunity to be exposed to critical fundamental training and develops their skills and allows them to be critiqued by their instructors and peers,” said Daniel Schnobrich, M.D., assistant professor, Medical School, who led the training sessions. “The program is safe, helps students better understand what they’re doing and know when to ask for help.”
Ultrasonography is a newer tool in emergency rooms and helps in the treatment option decision making process.
As part of a big national push for patient safety in medicine that has been occurring over the last decade, the goal is to make sure students do their “practicing” on the mannequins and give their best to the real patients.
Though the Medical School’s approach to training interns has yet to be emulated elsewhere in the country, professors are hoping that more universities will follow suit and begin taking students through the modalities before patient encounters occur.
“Everyone has been quite happy with the new change.” Schnobrich said. “The emergence of a different framework has led to a positive impact for the [University of Minnesota] medical center and in the type of care our interns can provide.”