Students from the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM), a school within Samuel Merritt University, are incorporating simulated learning methods into the curricula. As part of their podiatric surgical rotation, thirteen third-year students from the school's Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) program travelled to the laboratories of Pacific Medical Inc. in Tracy, California, where they participated in a full-day of hands-on surgical training with instrumentation provided by Arthrex Corporation.
The cadaveric surgical skills learning center incorporates new, state-of-the-art technology in surgical procedures.
Ninveh Hiskail, DPM student, believes the personalized educational experience helped her and fellow students prepare for their surgical clinical rotation. "This was the first time I was able to actually become familiar and hands-on with the same instruments the doctors and residents use in the operating room," says Hiskail. "Because of my early exposure to the equipment, I found myself more comfortable in the OR, particularly when the surgical procedure I was scrubbed-in on required their use."
"The goal of this program is to provide students with a strong foundation in surgical skills as part of their surgical rotation," explains William M. Jenkin, DPM, Chair and Professor, Department of Podiatric Surgery at CSPM. "As a result of this educational experience, students are better prepared and confident to meet the challenges of performing and practicing surgical skills during clinical rotations in their third and fourth years which will better prepare them for residencies."
Generally, the third year surgical rotation at St Mary's Medical Center, located in San Francisco, is four months long. The Pacific Medical, Inc./Arthrex Laboratory workshop was a one-day learning practice specializing in foot and ankle surgery on fresh specimens and instruction by the surgical faculty.
"The surgical training of this caliber is typically reserved for students in fourth-year clerkships or residency programs," says Patrick Qualtire, third-year DPM student. "In one day we worked alongside CSPM faculty members Joel Clark, DPM, Joshua Gerbert, DPM, William Jenkin, DPM and Kevin Miller, DPM, Chief Resident in the Podiatric Residency Program at St. Mary's Hospital. What an experience."
According to the company's website, Arthrex's devices are often used in many aspects related to the lower extremity. The skills training lab allowed students to practice the fundamentals of basic aseptic technique theory and applications of clinical practice. Using fresh-frozen surgical cadavers and sawbones, students performed various surgical procedures including:
- Austin bunionectomy
- Weil shortening osteotomy
- PIPJ arthrodesis with TAPAS
- PIPJ arthrodesis with Spin-It drill pins
- Juvara osteotomy on 5th metatarsal
- Medial calcaneal displacement osteotomy
- Evans procedure with "H" plates
Students also practiced their skills using various power instruments such as sagittal saws and k-wire drivers. Procedures practiced included:
- Internal fixation
- Wound closure
- Sutures and compression staples
- 1st MTPJ Hemi-Implant
- Achilles Tendon Repair Suture Bridge Incorporating state-of-the-art instrumentation and implants, students say they received a comprehensive experience with the latest techniques and tools available for their surgical needs.
"This unique opportunity allowed us to actively participate in an environment that closely approximates the feel of actual surgery," adds Qualtire.
"We spend a lot of time in class learning about the procedures our surgical faculty perform, so to actually do them together, without risk to a live patient, was an incredible learning experience," says Hiskail. "We were able to ask questions and have things clarified that would have not been so easily understood had it been just a lecture in a classroom."