The Center for Medical Simulation (CMS) is located in Cambridge near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. While the center has supported the educational efforts of the Harvard Anesthesia Training programs for many years, the leadership of the CMS and most of its faculty are members of the DACCPM. The facility offers innovative, interactive courses and educational programs for residents and other clinicians. CMS is equipped with several highly realistic, computer-controlled patient mannequin simulators. It has two simulation rooms that can serve in versatile ways, including as a fully equipped operating room, ICU, recovery room, emergency ward, labor room or radiology suite. Under the leadership of its Executive Director, Professor Jeff Cooper, CMS has taken the lead in promoting practices to support safe patient care. The Center also has taken a lead in developing innovative curriculum, and offers the Institute for Medical Simulation, a program to "teach the teachers" and future leaders in the field of simulation.
Experiential learning and reflective practice are important themes at the CMS. Not only are residents trained there, but the faculty of the DACCPM also participates in continuing education at the CMS as a required part of their credentialing. Sharing this type of learning experience helps to solidify a common appreciation for practice and self-reflection in an effort to understand and improve our practices.
DACCPM residents participate in training at least once a year, beginning with an introductory course for new residents during the first month in the CA-1 year. All second- and third-year residents participate in the Anesthesia Crisis Resource Management (ACRM) training, based on the concepts of team training originating from the aviation industry and other high-vigilance work groups.
At CMS, residents care for "patients" in a full day of simulated cases, during which challenging anesthesia situations are experienced first-hand. The ACRM course environment is complete with a team of multidisciplinary personnel and all-routine anesthetic equipment and supplies.
The course is designed to deeply ingrain the learning experience, and the realism and simulator fidelity is remarkable. Residents learn a variety of concepts and skills useful for managing crises and avoiding mishaps. Video-based debriefing of events with participants, guided by trained facilitators, is a critical component of these training sessions. Debriefing is conducted in a confidential, non-judgmental format with the goal of facilitating self-reflection and learning.
There are additional opportunities for an increasingly popular one-month simulator elective and longer programs for research studies. Many research projects there have led to curriculum changes or opportunities for trainees to present original work at national and international meetings. DACCPM residents and faculty -- the first of any anesthesia program in the nation to participate in ACRM training -- are uniformly enthusiastic about this unique learning opportunity.
Center for Medical Simulation