State-of-the-art simulation facility provides surgical training opportunities for WVU students and physicians | Today


Dr. Brian Boone, assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the WVU School of Medicine, participates in a simulated surgery using the da Vinci Robotic Assisted Surgical System that allows procedures to be performed on a mannequin or a corpse. The system is part of the new operating room located in the David and Jo Ann Shaw Center for Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safety (STEPS) at West Virginia University, providing an interactive educational experience for learners of all ages. skill levels – from medical students to professors of surgery.
(WVU Photo/Aira Burkhart)

A new operating theater West Virginia University provides an interactive educational experience for learners of all skill levels – from medical students to professors of surgery.

Located in the WVU Health Sciences David and Jo Ann Shaw Center for Simulation Training and Education for Patient Safetythe new learning environment is open for its first full semester this fall.

STEPS is a state-of-the-art simulation center with fully responsive technology that offers students from all five schools of health sciences – Dentistry, Medicine, Feeding with milk, Pharmacy and Public health – with a safe environment to improve their skills before meeting patients in daily and critical care situations.

The new space is designed and equipped to simulate an actual operating room that would be used by UVM medicine surgeons. The space includes high-fidelity mannequins that mimic the functions of the human body, anesthesia machines, a da Vinci robot-assisted surgical system which allows for procedures to be performed on a manikin or cadaver, and the ability to record sessions for future review and teaching opportunities. Interdisciplinary teams can also use the training space that prepares them for the interactions they would encounter in a clinical setting.

“This OR is designed to accommodate learners of all abilities,” Dan Summers, director of STEPS, said. “Students in the School of Medicine under the supervision of an experienced surgical faculty can perform simulated surgeries with the da Vinci robot, students who complete their clinical rotation can learn how to operate anesthesia and put the dummy to sleep. patient in preparation for surgery, and WVU Medicine residents can practice using both the virtual robotic trainers and the real robot before performing surgery on real patients.

“It benefits students and residents in their interactive education through hands-on learning opportunities. Simulation helps them develop skills they might not develop until much later in their careers and, therefore, improves patient care and safety and health outcomes.

Since the operating room opened, several physicians have trained in the space, which is a major asset to WVU Medicine and the patients they serve. The training environment also allowed WVU Medicine surgeons to provide expert training to people outside of the healthcare system.

“We carried out a robotic whip course for visiting professors from an outside institution, and the STEPS operating room gave us the opportunity to teach this complex surgical procedure in a realistic atmosphere,” dr. Brian Boonassistant professor at School of Medicine Department of Surgery, said. “Operating room technology and equipment allowed us to perform the procedure on a perfused cadaver – filled with fluid – which has superb tissue integrity and allows surgeons to master the steps as if they were operating on a patient.

“Access to 24/7 robotic surgery training is also a great resource for our trainees. This facility positions WVU as one of the nation’s premier robotics training destinations.



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Senior Communications Specialist
Health Sciences Center
304-293-9528; [email protected]

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