Canada’s largest sonography programme chooses ScanTrainer and HeartWorks
Mohawk College, in collaboration with McMaster University, has opened a new Centre for Healthcare Simulation, an interprofessional educational facility, complete with new ScanTrainer and HeartWorks simulators to support its expanding sonography programme.
The college had been a ScanTrainer user since 2015. Although initially planning to utilise ScanTrainer to teach students obstetric ultrasound motion skills, its greater educational potential across clinical specialisms and ease of integrating simulation-based learning into curricula was soon realised. The College began using ScanTrainer Cloud features such as the Case Library, which gives students on-demand access to an extensive range of normal and abnormal patient cases across clinical disciplines including general medical, obstetrics and gynecology.
The following year the College joined forces with McMaster University to create the largest sonography education programme in Canada. The launch of the new Centre signalled the importance of simulation for ultrasound skills training at the College and it acquired additional ScanTrainer Transvaginal & Transabdominal Simulators, as well as the introduction of HeartWorks Dual Simulators for TTE & TEE ultrasound teaching to keep up with training demands.
Wendy Lawson, Associate Dean, Allied Health at Mohawk College commented, “A growing skills gap, rising student numbers and a decline in clinical learning opportunities have made simulation the obvious solution for us to help fulfil our educational objectives.”
With the simulators fully embedded into the general sonography and cardiac imaging curricula, the College is offering students greater access to experiential learning opportunities outside of the clinical setting which is building confidence among its trainees. Ms. Lawson said, “Students can be introduced to practical scanning techniques much earlier on in their learning which, in turn, increases their confidence levels and improves practical application of those skills in real patient care settings.”
A recent student survey* conducted by the College showed the overall consensus was that students enjoyed their experience of ScanTrainer and most had felt that it had positively contributed to their ability in obstetric scanning during their first clinical placement. When asked, clinical tutors said that students had demonstrated an improvement when scanning the pelvis and that they were more comfortable with transvaginal scanning.
Looking to the future, the College plans to expand its use of ScanTrainer Cloud. Case Generator, a unique feature of the system will enable tutors to upload their own patient scans and create a bespoke library of ultrasound cases for their own specific teaching requirements. Laura Thomas, a member of the teaching faculty at Mohawk, commented on ScanTrainer Cloud, “As we continue to use ScanTrainer, we develop more resources for the students along their own personal trajectory of learning. The vast and diverse range of case studies allows for the student to scan a horseshoe kidney or pick up a subtle fluid pocket in Morison’s Pouch, scan a fetus with Joubert’s syndrome, or scan a uterus with fibroids – to name a few. With the integration of new ultrasound equipment, we can begin to compile our own cases that demonstrate the required anatomy for student learning.”
*Survey published in the Canadian Journal of Medical Sonography (Volume 8, Issue 4, Winter 2017)