• By Natalie Halpern

Mayo Clinic opens new simulation skills lab to help staff learn, perfect clinical procedures

May 1, 2018

procedural skills lab in the Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.— A new procedural skills lab in the Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center at Mayo Clinic in Florida will help staff learn and perfect various clinical procedures, including joint arthroscopy, spinal taps and kidney removal. In addition, participants in the lab will experiment, learn and refine new procedures on tissue from cadavers.

The new 3,000-square-foot skills lab includes space for microvascular surgical training, a gross anatomy teaching laboratory, a cadaver preparation facility, and a room to clean and store surgical instruments and equipment. With an emphasis on conceptual and experiential learning, the lab will further improve medical education and patient care.

“Our physicians and staff are continuously working to improve upon techniques and innovating to bring new solutions to our patients – many of whom come to us for highly complex care,” says Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., vice president, Mayo Clinic, and CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “This new space greatly expands the ability to test and conduct research on equipment, processes and new procedures.”

A good example of this research are endoscopic procedures in Mayo’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology that treat a complication of pancreatitis called pseudocysts, a complex condition that requires placement of tubes to drain fluid that collects in the abdomen.

“A novel way to optimize the procedure for each patient is to take a CT scan of a patient and 3-D print their stomach, small intestine, pancreas and these fluid collections,” says Michael Wallace, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist. “We can then simulate the procedure and try different approaches to determine the optimal approach for that patient, which expands our ability to innovate.”

Dr. Wallace says the new skills lab will improve patient care and better serve practitioners from the Jacksonville community. For example, training will be offered annually to emergency medical technicians in Northeast Florida to allow them to practice airway management and obstruction, and stroke care. In addition, Mayo Clinic will hold professional development conferences and workshops that use the lab.

Recent advancements in technology, the advent of robotic surgery and innovations in the delivery of education have fostered the evolution of simulation in medicine. Simulation encompasses various approaches. Surgeons can practice fundamentals and master new techniques. Hospitalists and nursing staff undergo team training. And other health care staff provide patient assessments using standardized patients.

The Mayo Clinic J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center opened in Mayo Clinic in Florida in 2013 and was recently accredited as a quality health care simulation center by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. The center occupies more than 10,000 square feet in the Vincent A. Stabile Building and includes designated areas for:

  • Procedural and surgical task training
  • An operating room
  • ICU
  • Hospital and outpatient exam rooms
  • An emergency medicine suite
  • Classroom and debriefing space

In addition, the center includes extensive audiovisual equipment, so that training can be recorded and reviewed. Other amenities include a 60-seat learning center that accommodates large team training exercises and educational programs for external organizations. The center links with Mayo Clinic's simulation centers in Phoenix and Rochester, Minnesota, creating one of the largest medical simulation programs in the U.S.

In 2017, the center hosted about 10,000 learners from Mayo and the community, and provided 27,000 hours of medical training.

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