Lab lets student surgeons practice

In the past, aspiring surgeons have had to watch, learn and eventually, test their skills on a living patient. Lately, however, many medical schools have made the training process safer and easier, creating special laboratories which help medical students and specialists-in-training hone their surgical skills without touching a patient. The idea is to make sure rookie surgeons don't hurt patients by making errors, says Dr. Gary Dunnington, chairman of the surgery department at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. Dunnington's work has attracted attention; he's already working with colleagues in other cities to create a model curriculum for surgical skills training.

SIU's lab includes more than $1 million in equipment, much of it donated by medical equipment companies. Students, who are trained in basic skills such suturing and tying square knots, also practice holding standard instruments and using them safely. Instructors say that students are much more confident after going through the training, which makes use of both realistic models like pig parts and low-tech simulations like hamster tubes.

To get more background on surgeon training:
- read this item in The Paramus Post