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PeriopSim Integration Curriculum Webinar: Taking Simulations and Assessments to the Next Level!


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PeriopSim Integration Curriculum Webinar: Taking Simulations and Assessments to the Next Level

Jul 13, 2021 10:02:11 AM / by Jumana Mascati

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A couple of weeks ago, we had the pleasure of having guest speakers on our first ever PeriopSim webinar! The webinar was hosted by the PeriopSim Customer Success Manager, Jumana Mascati, and CEO, Angela Robert and our guest speakers were:

  • Amy Broussard, Surgical Technology Program Director at SOWELA Technical Community College
  • Brooke Oliver, Surgical Technology Program Director at Richland Community College
  • Tami Pitcher, Director of Surgical Technology at West Virginia Northern Community College
  • Erin Carr, Surgical Technology Instructor at West Virginia Northern Community College


The key points that were constantly reiterated for other educators considering using PeriopSim were to:

  1. Make it count for credits/mandatory to motivate and engage students.
  2. Ensure that you set a time limit (Ex: Saying that at the end of two weeks a student needs to have an A or B).
  3. Reinforce repetition - make sure that the student is doing it at least seven to nine times.


The educators all needed a solution when the pandemic first hit. When asked how PeriopSim desktop and tablet were integrated into the program, Brooke (click here to learn more about Brooke's PeriopSim experience) started off by saying that she was scrambling for ideas because learning was remote. Brooke and her students were not allowed on campus or clinical sites, so she needed a way to stimulate learning from the students through instrumentation and surgical anticipation but also from the comfort of their own homes. Brooke had heard about PeriopSim before but did not integrate it until the end of May 2020 so it could be used over the summer. Brooke uses a point system for each module where the student can get a grade as high as an A. She wanted to make sure the credit counted because students are motivated to use PeriopSim. 


Tami and Erin (click here to read Tami and Erin's PeriopSim experience) at West Virginia Northern Community College purchased PeriopSim with grant funding during the pandemic. They first went with PeriopSim so it could be used at home before integrating PeriopSimVR. After that, they integrated PeriopSimVR into the program at both campuses. By having both PeriopSim and PeriopSimVR, Tami and Erin are able to assign specific modules to each student and have them complete their surgeries using VR. When they first started with PeriopSim, Tami and Erin were unsure of how to give students grades, which is why Erin went to the first webinar. Currently, they are only doing completion grades but are looking at using the grading system that is built into PeriopSim. 


Similar to the other educators, Amy also got PeriopSim when the pandemic first started. She had a group in the final semester and she was trying to teach neurosurgery from home. She did not know how she was going to demonstrate the techniques and was looking for something to help. She talked with the PeriopSim CEO, Angela Robert who suggested PeriopSimVR. Amy said that it was easy to integrate with the first group because they had nothing else. With her second group, her students did not want to independently study but rather know what they were graded on. Amy, along with the other educators heavily recommended making PeriopSim a graded assignment so that the students would be incentivized to use it. She said, "the benefits are visible when they walk into a clinical site."


Do you have any stories about successful learning outcomes with PeriopSim?

Brooke's student success story was very recent, happening the week before the webinar took place: 

"I just assigned a student on Friday an inguinal hernia that she was going to do on Monday at Clinical. She had three back-to-back inguinal hernia assignments. I told her on Friday, 'I want you to go in, competency on the PeriopSim instrument tray first and then do the procedure at least seven times. I'm able to track that because we can see when you log in. That's really going to help you be prepared for anticipatory skills at clinical on Monday.'

The surgeon on Monday asked her how many of these had she done and she said that was her first inguinal hernia. He was just wowed because she was on top of it. She was passing and anticipating. She came up to me after and said 'You know, Professor Oliver, it’s because I practiced  PeriopSim so much this weekend that I knew what was going to happen next.'

I think that this shows that even though they're doing it virtually or in a 2D (PeriopSim) environment, they can still take that learning experience and transfer it into the clinical environment and it really enhances their learning education experience."


Amy said that she saw a lot of success with PeriopSim at the beginning of clinicals: 

"I found in the past that the first week and a half of clinical rotations is just wasted time. They walk into the OR and they’re so frightened and they're up against the wall and they don’t want to talk and move. The whole environment is bright and light and they kind of blank out on you for a few days and then they start learning and gaining experience and participating in the cases. I found that the first group who used it from the beginning walked in being like 'Okay, where do I scrub?'

They weren’t frightened by the OR. The environment was familiar and the way the furniture was being arranged was familiar. I had students start earning second scrub cases within two days of walking into clinical. That's unheard of in my area, the first week was basically a wash because they couldn’t adapt to the OR. One of my students was like 'I walked in, and the lights were down but I knew what was going on because I did the module. I could’ve grabbed the instrument before the preceptor did.'

It makes such a huge difference for the beginners being able to participate. Now the hospitals are asking me how I get them to be able to walk in and work like that. I didn’t do anything differently on my end so I can only say is that they weren’t shocked. I think it has to do with their practicing in an environment that's safe. They can make a mistake on the system without a patient involved and that learning can be repeated. That repetition and active learning help them retain what they learned and they can transfer it into actual practice."


Tami: "We’re always trying to make it fun. Erin is big on this too. She does a lot of this stuff and she gets them up and going. They think they don’t want to be doing anything but we make it exciting for them. The way we have a positive attitude and how we try to make it fun and competitive helps get them going. It gets them ready to want to learn. The IT department does help with the simulations in the lab. Once they do it on VR (PeriopSimVR) then it feels more real."


To add to that, Erin talked about what she does to keep the students engaged:

"In the classroom, I would use the leaderboard. There would be times where I would do the module and say 'If anyone can beat me, I’ll bring a treat into the class tomorrow.' Even my 8-year-old at home plays the Burr Hole procedure with me constantly and tries to get on the leaderboard. I really like the leaderboard feature for competitiveness and making it a game at school."


What would you suggest to other educators after using PeriopSim for a year now? 

Erin: "The biggest thing I thought that helped me the most was using the VR (PeriopSimVR) and the 2D (PeriopSim) myself and doing all the modules and being familiar with them. When a student has a question, I can help point that out when I know what they’re talking about in the modules. I just felt like using the equipment a lot helped me help the students." 


Tami continued, saying, "We can have the best students in the lab, but when they get into clinical it can change. PeriopSim gives them confidence. That's what a lot of our students lack. We work so hard in lab to make sure they know what they’re doing. There's that student that knows what they're doing, but then they get into clinical and then they make it seem as if we’ve never taught them anything. I think giving them the tools they need improves their confidence."


Amy: "VR (PeriopSimVR) mimics what we do so closely that the students really do get nervous in the simulation. They do things there that they would not do in the big lab with everyone else because they are immersed in the simulation."


What are your thoughts on why you’re going to use PeriopSim post-pandemic?

Brooke: "The students are coming into clinical so much more prepared than they were by just doing the simulations in the lab. I don’t have VR (PeriopSimVR) yet, and I’m still seeing so much better clinical skills at a higher level. They have more confidence coming into clinical. We all have students in lab that hang back and watch everyone do it first. Then they get their toes wet and tiptoe in. I’m finding that with them being able to do PeriopSim at the comfort of their own home, they are jumping head in first. So it’s not that they’re hanging back now and waiting for other people, but they’re able to really be comfortable because they can make mistakes without anyone judging them. 

PeriopSim really gives them a chance to make mistakes without anyone else there and now they come into lab without making as many mistakes. So they’re feeling more confident in lab and progressing into clinical more confident than they’ve ever been. I think that is a benefit of PeriopSim

I’m looking at purchasing VR (PeriopSimVR) and just from hearing stories from other educators who’ve had PeriopSimVR have said that you just get submerged in the environment and it really mimics the OR environment. I think that's going to be an excellent addition for our students. Even though we have a fully functioning operating room and we have different setups going on, it still isn’t like the OR. I’m really looking forward to doing that in the future but I will continue to use 2D (PeriopSim) as well."


**These are guidelines based on other surgical technology recommendations which would differ from hospital educator guidelines. To watch the whole webinar, click here.

Topics: Surg Tech Program, education

Jumana Mascati

Written by Jumana Mascati