Why Is Hands-On Education So Vital For Students?
The improvements made in the past years in consumer technology have meant that more and more people now have access to smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other affordable portable devices. It is not uncommon to come across children using a parent’s phone or tablet rather than taking part in other creative and physical activities.
While this has had unexpected positive results, such as improvements in literacy skills and raised interest in IT-related subjects, it has also impacted children’s manual dexterity. Less time spent colouring, building with blocks and generally physically creating has led to children who are more able to swipe, double tap and click than to use their hands with a high level of ability and sensitivity.
The Importance of Manual Dexterity
A few years ago teachers started reporting cases of children who tried to swipe left while reading books, and the trend has not slowed down. Young children and teenagers now have even fewer possibilities of developing their manual skills while in school as musical, artistic and creative subjects have seen their teaching hours limited more and more worldwide as technology-based subjects take centre stage.
Only a few weeks ago, Roger Kneebone, a leading surgery professor from Imperial College in London, claimed that in recent years students have been showing a high level of theoretical knowledge but lack general tactile knowledge and have low levels of dexterity. In his opinion, this puts the profession in danger as surgeons step into the working field with a lowered ability to perform basic tasks, such as cutting and sewing patients skilfully.
Kneebone is not alone in his worries, as he joins a growing number of health professionals who have expressed concerns over the past few years about the manual abilities of students and recent graduates. Prospective medical and nursing students are evaluated on academic knowledge before entering university, throughout their education and while in residency programs, but they never undergo dexterity or manual skills assessments.
Students are expected to acquire the necessary skills during training by practicing with patients. However, many universities and university hospitals have had to limit the amount of patient-contact hours students experience during their education due to a larger number of students and reduced staff who can oversee them and guide them while dealing with patients.
How Medical Simulators Can Help
With the current situation surrounding medical students and their lack of manual skills, the use of high-quality realistic medical simulation models during training has become a necessity. As patient-contact hours seem to continue their downward trend, simulators can bridge the gap between book-based learning and patient interaction.
Medical models can be used over and over as needed by a large number of students. Generally only one trainer is required while using medical simulation models, and they offer the possibility of exposing students to a larger variety of possible medical scenarios than dealing with real-life patients ever could. Many of 3B Scientific simulators come with tablet interfaces that allow real-time monitoring and feedback by the trainer, as well as post-simulation self-assessment by trainees.
Many simulation programs currently focus on patient evaluation, diagnosis and treatment and leave little time for the hands-on training that is so important for future health practitioners. At 3B Scientific we develop advanced life-like simulators with the help of field leaders who combine their years of experience working with patients with our specially developed materials. This high level of realism helps students develop their competency and increase their confidence for when they face patients during their practice.
Once medical students become qualified practitioners, simulators offer them the possibility of maintaining the skills they acquired during their training, and even improving on them to assure consistent quality of patient care.