Undergraduate students of Government Stanley Medical College and Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) will soon be able to practise cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), deliveries and simple techniques such as finding a vein and administering an injection on mannequins.

The two colleges are all set to establish skill labs to train their MBBS students in primary healthcare.

The government has sanctioned Rs. 70 lakh for the establishment of these labs at the colleges’ departments of community medicine, according to officials of the directorate of medical education.

Officials said that since primary health centres across the State were short-staffed, students who had just completed their MBBS degrees were being appointed at them. Since these students often did not have adequate opportunities to individually practice certain procedures, such labs were essential to augment their skills.

“Students need to be provided with skills in primary care as they are often posted in set-ups where there is no tertiary care centre and there is no senior doctor for support. We will provide training in both hard and soft skills,” said a doctor at KMC’s department of community medicine.

P. Seenivasan, professor of community medicine at Stanley Medical College said, “Such labs are also necessary as the number of medical colleges and students has increased, and fewer get the opportunity to practice certain basic skills.” And so, learning to perform procedures on mannequins before they did so on patients would be a safe way of training, the doctors said.

Hard skills would include handling emergency situations such as resuscitation of newborns and labour management. In addition, training on basic life support, advanced cardiac support and simple skills like finding a vein, administering injections, holding a pair of forceps and suturing injuries will also be imparted.

Soft skills will focus on how to deal with patients, for which an interactive simulation software is being readied.

Questions on various situations along with choices will be given and students will be asked to choose the right answer.

“For instance, there will be questions on what a doctor must do if a patient refuses to follow their advice. The thrust is on convincing patients to be treated. We want to empower our students to be able to handle such situations confidently,” the doctor at KMC said, adding that the college had already ordered mannequins.

Dr. Seenivasan, said the college was planning to buy 50 mannequins, each catering to a particular set of skills for the lab, along with the required devices. “We are planning to devise a systematic teaching methodology to impart these skills along with the regular curriculum for each undergraduate year. We are looking at teaching students a total of 45 skills,” he said.

Such full-fledged skill labs were the first of their kind in the State, Stanley college dean, S. Geethalakshmi, said.

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