Around mid August, the Board of Governors of the Medical
Council of India suggested that MBBS students be asked to practise on
dummies rather than on patients as they are used to doing.
Suggesting major reforms in the curriculum, the Board posited the use
of ‘skill laboratories’ in medical teaching institutions as was being
done abroad. Board member Sita Naik was quoted (in The Hindu) as
saying, “We have never considered the rights of patients but it is an
issue in the developed countries.”
As a result, the MCI is also hoping to equip its college with such
skill laboratories in the future. “Skill laboratories are an expensive
proposition, but we are seriously looking at it,” she had said.
However, that currently, knowledge, even awareness about skill labs in
the country is rather low, is the widely-held view.
The orthopaedic department at the Government General Hospital here,
was among the first public sector teaching establishments to set up a
skill lab for the use of students. “We basically have bone models to
help our PG students get a feel of what they will work with. The lab
has been set up as a public-private partnership effort,” explained
Mayilvahanan Natarajan, Vice Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR
University, who also was instrumental in setting up the unit. This
will be followed by a cadaveric lab, which will allow students one
more level before they start dealing with patients, he adds.
At Sri Ramachandra University in Porur, here, two types of skill labs
have been installed: Specific skill labs for Orthopaedics, Obstetrics
and Gynaecology and ENT; and a basic lab for MBBS students. The former
caters to instilling higher skills for complex surgical procedures,
which will be tested initially on a cadaveric lab before working on
patients, P.V.Vijayaragahavan, dean - education, SRU, said. The
varsity is also in the process of setting up a virtual skill lab as
well, he added.
Mid August, a skill lab was inaugurated at the Chettinad Academy of
Research and Education, the Vice Chancellor, V.Raji said the lab was a
good place for students to learn and practise their skills, preparing
them for their eventual rendezvous with patients. Their own models
were relevant to under graduate medical training, she explained. While
they currently had one simulation model, it would soon be expanded to
a full-fledged simulation lab.
Lailu Mathews of the Anaesthesiology department, CARE, was careful to
add that models are not intended to replace clinical experience,
instead they are meant to prepare students to treat patients.
C.M.Purushothaman, director, Medical Resources India, a company that
supplies such facilities to medical colleges said, a skills lab will
essentially take the student to about 80-90 per cent skill level.
There are, in the market, simulation sequences that can be run and
re-run in order to explore the various treatment options.