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Acad Med. 2010 Feb;85(2):370-7. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c88d74.

Early bedside care during preclinical medical education: can technology-enhanced patient simulation advance the Flexnerian ideal?

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1
Gilbert Program in Medical Simulation, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA. jgordon3@partners.org

Abstract

Flexner wanted medical students to study at the patient bedside-a remarkable innovation in his time-so that they could apply science to clinical care under the watchful eye of senior physicians. Ever since his report, medical schools have reserved the latter years of their curricula for such an "advanced" apprenticeship, providing clinical clerkship experiences only after an initial period of instruction in basic medical sciences. Although Flexner codified the segregation of preclinical and clinical instruction, he was committed to ensuring that both domains were integrated into a modern medical education. The aspiration to fully integrate preclinical and clinical instruction continues to drive medical education reform even to this day. In this article, the authors revisit the original justification for sequential preclinical-clinical instruction and argue that modern, technology-enhanced patient simulation platforms are uniquely powerful for fostering simultaneous integration of preclinical-clinical content in a way that Flexner would have applauded. To date, medical educators tend to focus on using technology-enhanced medical simulation in clinical and postgraduate medical education; few have devoted significant attention to using immersive clinical simulation among preclinical students. The authors present an argument for the use of dynamic robot-mannequins in teaching basic medical science, and describe their experience with simulator-based preclinical instruction at Harvard Medical School. They discuss common misconceptions and barriers to the approach, describe their curricular responses to the technique, and articulate a unifying theory of cognitive and emotional learning that broadens the view of what is possible, feasible, and desirable with simulator-based medical education.

PMID:
20107370
DOI:
10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c88d74
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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