For the initial creation of a physical reality surgical trainer, Carolyn Henne served as one of the lead faculty facilitators with a collaborative team of arts, engineering and business students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to develop the first generation prototype of a high fidelity surgical trainer for abdominal and pelvic surgery. Subsequently, Carolyn Henne collaborated with Dr. Ellen Brock with VCU's Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety to develop prototypes now being replicated and employed to train surgical students and shared at workshops internationally. The latest prototypes include refined definition of the organs and material solutions that attain a high verisimilitude to actual organs and their tissues. The physical reality trainer requires the use of actual operating room instruments, thereby allowing the student the opportunity to learn the skills of using and troubleshooting actual operating room technology. Learning to formulate strategy and manage difficult surgeries in a high fidelity simulation environment would likely translate to improved operating room performance in surgical trainees.
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