The Pros and Cons of Simulator Model Training

Medical education has always been unique in that it is necessary to somehow facilitate learning in a realistic environment without re-creating the actual risks inherent to serious medical situations. The process of giving birth is one area where this unique difficulty comes into play. How do you make sure that medical students are able to simulate real-life birthing, including complicated and life-threatening scenarios, without putting patient safety at risk? This is where the birthing simulator model, fetal models, and other similar realistic reproductions come into play. Here are the pros and cons of using a birthing simulator model or other simulations when it comes to medical education surrounding human birth.

The Benefits of Simulation

We have long known that there are significant benefits to using a simulator when compared to just using something like a fetal development chart or pregnancy dilation chart. The very first known simulator models were actually made in the 800s by a French midwife who constructed her own life-size pelvis model and simulator babies in order to train other midwives. Here are the benefits of this sort of simulation:

  1. They offer practical, experimental learning. When learning from books and charts, students are only able to envision what they might do in a certain situation. With models and simulation they are able to practice the skills with their own hands.
  2. The simulator provides an emotional response. One thing that books and charts can never correct for is the emotional experience of giving birth. With the birthing simulator model and the realistic simulation scenario, the situation is set up so that the students are able to engage emotionally and learn how to deal with those emotions before they are faced with the real thing.
  3. Simulations and models help to illustrate abstract concepts. the concepts involved in giving birth can be difficult to master and some of them are highly abstract. One of the advantages of any type of realistic simulation experience is that it takes the abstract and puts it into concrete, immediate terms which the students can grab hold of and master.
  4. Students learn and remember better with simulation. Several recent studies have followed medical residents learning procedures through simulation or without simulation. Without any doubt, those who learned through simulation learned better, learned faster, and were more confident in using their skills than those who did not use something like a birthing simulator model or other realistic training tool.
  5. Simulations can provide training for rare events. Certain birthing scenarios are extremely rare and impossible to reproduce on cue. Having a realistic simulation situation allows students to learn how to deal with these situations in a safe environment.
  6. Simulation training keeps patients safe. For those things that absolutely require hands-on practice, simulation training in the medical world provides a way for students to build their skills without endangering patients.
  7. A simulator model can allow for team training scenarios. When the entire team can work together around a birthing simulation model, not only do they hone their own individual skills, but they also improve as a group and learn how to work together as a team.

The Drawbacks of Simulation

While simulation training is an excellent method of learning and superior to many others, it does have its drawbacks.

  1. Some models do not adequately mimic. The human body is extremely complex and even the best models cannot perfectly reproduce the entirety of the experience.
  2. It is impossible to approach a simulator with the identical attitude one would have in a real-life scenario. Two common attitude changes can be seen: some students care less because they are aware the simulator is not a real human. Other students become hypervigilant because of the stress of knowing an event is definitely going to occur.
  3. Costs can be high.The cost of acquiring realistic models and holding simulator sessions can be much higher than using charts, books,
    and videos alone.

While there are some drawbacks to teaching about human birth using a birthing simulator model, in general, it is an excellent way of providing realistic training for medical students, midwives, soon-to-be parents, and others. As the birthing simulator model and similar models improve every year, their potential to enhance learning only gets better with time.

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