Mother Victoria, a mannequin at Aga Khan University’s CIME, can give birth just like a real person. She mimics a mother’s distress during labour and her baby is born with vitals you can measure. Harvey, another simulator, has a heartbeat you can feel through a stethoscope and the ability to simulate just about any heart disease.
These eerily lifelike simulators surrounded by real medical equipment make for an all-immersive environment at the Centre for Innovation in Medical Education. Medical, nursing, dentistry and allied health professionals from all across Pakistan can come here to learn clinical skills through simulation-based medical learning.
The CIME is Pakistan’s first and South Asia’s largest simulation-based medical learning institute. It has simulation labs, conference rooms and a courtyard. SAMAA Digital got a chance to visit the facility and experience the simulation-based scenarios live.
The labs are built to simulate patient care wards, operation room, obstetrics and gynaecology operation room, paediatric resuscitation room and a dental lab. “The centre also has mock setups of a patient’s home and a rural community environment so trainees can practice for emergency situations and patient care outside of the hospital environment,” explained Ghulam Nabi, media and communications analyst at the CIME.
Nabi added that there were three types of simulators: high fidelity, medium fidelity and low fidelity. The former two are in use at the AKU. High fidelity means that the simulator looks, behaves, and functions like a real human patient. Medium-fidelity simulators are less realistic than real patients and 17 of them are found in the dental simulation lab.
Mother Victoria is a high-fidelity simulator who gives birth to a realistic baby through a mechanical motor installed inside her, explained ObGyn Operating Room Simulation Analyst, Jalal Uddin.
An instructor behind the control room next to the birthing station voices Victoria. You talk to her and she talks back. The instructors record the entire procedure and give personalised feedback afterward.
There is also a virtual reality room at the CIME where trainees can experience all kinds of medical scenarios to hone their clinical skills.Medical students in their second year and above can incorporate VR in their curriculum for an immersive learning experience, Darab Nisar Ahmed, a simulation analyst at the virtual reality room, told SAMAA Digital.
The VR technology makes it possible to choose any clinical setting to practice in.
Simulation-based learning is helpful because no patient gets harmed in the process, said Professor Charles Docherty who is also the director of CIME.
“You suspend disbelief to a certain extent. You are responsible for what you do, the decisions you make, and the consequences of those decisions. You have to live with them in this scenario, no one will bail you out.”