In honor of SSH’s Healthcare Simulation Week 2021, we are showcasing some of the OEI family of users who have integrated Operative Experience (OEI) simulation technology into their learning programs. Sentara College of Health Sciences offers an Associates of Applied Science degree in Surgical Technology. This program builds Surgical Technologists that set high standards of practice and are deeply committed to quality patient-focused care.

Sentara’s Surgical Technology program is a 2-year program that provides a hybrid learning experience for its students and that utilizes classroom and online learning, skills labs, and clinical settings. Sentara provides over 1080 hours of hands-on experience in skills labs and clinicals – surpassing the requirements for licensure.  This approach makes Sentara College of Health Sciences one of the top healthcare schools in their region.

Sentara’s skills labs allow students to apply their knowledge in a safe environment where surgical procedures can be simulated. While it is easier to provide instruction on procedures, it is much more difficult to mimic emergency issues that test teams when delivery of care is paramount.

According to Simulation Lab Instructor Brenda Santiago-Yenter, Sentara was seeking to offer better ways for their students to experience the real-world issues that can come about specifically for mothers and babies during delivery.  It was important for Sentara to be able to train their surgical technologists how to assist labor and delivery teams during these high-stakes interactions.

Sentara partnered with OEI who developed the first-ever, fully- integrated solution for labor and delivery training, featuring a complete suite of fully operable simulators for delivery, C-Section, and emergency obstetric procedures.

Sentara purchased a C-Section simulator so students could discover what real, hands-in-the-body emergency OB training looks like. The simulator features incredibly accurate and tactile anatomy, realistic blood and fluids, and is uniquely designed to provide learners with a high-adrenaline, real-world operative experience.

When Sentara first started using the OEI simulator, they approached their Nursing department to see if they would be interested in an interdisciplinary simulation with the surgical tech students.  This interdisciplinary simulation benefits both types of students and it shows the different roles and responsibilities in the OR and how teamwork is achieved. They also provided a variety of different scenarios that occur during the C-Section to help the student stay focused and deal with different stressors.

Sentara has been using the simulator for 2 years with multiple cohorts of students. The feedback from the students has always been positive, and they have reported how much they enjoyed working with the simulator.

Sentara believes the simulation experience is invaluable for their students – nursing and surgical technologists alike and is in keeping with their commitment to providing high-quality patient-focused care.