To improve student performance during clinical rotations, the Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program at Horry Georgetown Technical College began looking for new, innovative learning solutions. As the program experienced difficulty in simulating abnormal systemic responses with peers in the classroom, faculty specifically sought out alternative methods of instruction to improve clinical decision-making when sudden events occur during treatment sessions. After exploring clinical simulation products, the program selected MedVision’s adult patient simulator, Leonardo.
Leonardo is designed to support the most challenging tasks in healthcare education, such as for cardiopulmonary resuscitation performance training, intensive care and advanced life-support procedures, using a wide variety of possible medical situations. Specifically, Horry Georgetown Technical College facilitators looked to this mannequin to improve learners’ critical thinking and provide a safe environment in which the students can practice and learn.
“Leonardo was the choice for our program for many reasons. Leonardo has a realistic weight that PTAs need to be able to maneuver, a wide variety of programmable functions, full joint mobility, ability to sit in an upright position for transfers, and ease of use of both the instructor and student computers during simulation activities,” explained Samantha Martel, DPT, PTA program director and professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College.
Upon use, Martel noted that her PTA students expressed the value of the lab activities they experienced with Leonardo. Furthermore, the students appreciated the realism of Leonardo, and felt they were able to have a better understanding of patient responses to mobility in the clinical setting using the mannequin as a resource. Another student takeaway was that they felt less apprehensive with attending a clinical rotation after having clinical simulation experiences. Through use of Leonardo, they felt prepared in how to respond to adverse reactions and emergency situations.
Martel added that, in her experience, clinical simulation has served as a hands-on learning activity that prepares students for the clinic by being able to control the outcomes of the selected intervention. Her students have been able to reflect on their performance through debriefing, and learn from their actions and decisions. Across her program, this has seemingly decreased the anxiety that can be experienced in the real world without having had experience in the didactic environment.
“Simulation is the future of therapy for both didactic training as well as an alternative clinical experience. The technology that can be provided by simulators is effective to prepare students for real-world situations,” Martel said. “We believe simulation in therapy is as crucial as any other training of healthcare professionals.”