Sneak peek at medical simulation renos
By Anne Chudobiak
“This is the place to make mistakes,” says Philippe Legault, Manager of Operations at the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning, on a recent tour of its newly expanded space in the Galeries du Parc shopping centre a short walk from campus.
He is standing in the doorway of the brand-new simulated operating room, where a high-fidelity (i.e., realistic) manikin lies on the table. “These can be intubated,” he says. “You can draw blood. They have vital signs and everything.”
The OR leads to a control room, where the Centre’s staff can control simulations, and an observation room.
When the renovations, which started in April, are complete, the Centre will have almost doubled in size, to 30,000 square feet, says Legault.
He leads the way to a new wing, which features office spaces for research fellows who do research in simulation. “This is pretty novel,” he says, explaining that until now there has been no centralized unit at the University for bringing together simulation researchers, who have traditionally worked independently within their own departments and schools.
He points out the bright paint colours. “We wanted it peppy.”
Passing through a hallway of new “standard” offices, he announces, with obvious pride, that all of them have already been claimed.
At the end of the hallway lies a simulated patient ward, with a nursing station and four patient rooms, including one that is designed for trainees to practice caring for obese patients. “We will be building a hoist so that they can practice how you move obese patients around.”
He goes on to describe the other kinds of simulations that can take place in this space. “You could have a nurse at the station and everything is buzzing and they have to manage four emergencies at the same time. How do they prioritize?”
The next stop on the tour is a clinical evaluation suite with 14 stations where it is possible to monitor all activities throughout the Centre.
“We are going to start training in distance medicine,” says Legault. “Telemedicine is something that is up and coming. Residents could train here with patients that are elsewhere.”
Down the hall is the break room. “We’re going to have couches. It’s hip and trendy,” says Legault. “Our students and faculty will like this room.” In the past, trainees had nowhere to go on breaks, sometimes leading to clogging and disruption in the hallways.
Beyond that lies a 1000-square-foot, fully functional simulated apartment, with a bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen, decorated with art donated to the McGill Visual Arts Collection by Arnold and Blema Steinberg. The prettily designed bathroom, with grey and white patterned tiles on the floor, elicits oohs and aahs from those on the tour. One participant photographs the room, saying, “I want to show it to my husband—he’s an architect.”
Why does the Centre need a simulated home? Because hospital stays are getting shorter. “More and more patients are being brought home earlier, but they still need care. We are going to be able to train our professionals to give home care and also patients to care for themselves,” says Legault.
The last stop on the tour of the new wing is the virtual reality trainer room, where it will soon be possible to practice surgical skills, including such procedures as laparoscopy and hysterectomy.
“The machine tells you if you are doing it right or not,” says Legault, adding that the Centre should be able to purchase four or five machines.
When asked if there will be a trainer for practicing neurosurgery, Legault says that the Centre’s main goal when purchasing new equipment is to make sure that it can be used by the vast majority of users, who hail from the Ingram School of Nursing, the School of Physical & Occupational Therapy and the School of Communication Sciences & Disorders, as well as from Medicine.
The tour concludes in the old wing by the scrub sinks, which are used for training. “A big part of working in the OR is knowing how to wash your hands. There is a course for Med-2s on learning how to scrub up,” Legault explains before the group disbands.
This expansion of the Steinberg Centre for Simulation and Interactive Learning was made possible thanks to a $7.5 million gift from Arnold and Blema Steinberg.