Medical students are constantly under pressure when it comes to learning about the physical components of a body and understanding how it works. The stress that comes along with the need to absorb this information tends to create a more calculated approach to patient care. This is effective to a point, but can often lead to a lack of communication between patients and doctors.
This is why researchers at the University of Lublin in Poland want to ensure that doctors are also aware of the emotional factors that come into play. To accomplish this, medical students have been donning simulation suits, with the hope that the technology will teach them how to become more empathic. This will help them understand what patients are going through, which will, in turn, allow the students to know how to better care for and communicate with their patients.
Going through the simulated motions
No matter how many textbooks doctors manage to read about certain conditions or illnesses, suffering through a medical issue is a completely different experience for a patient. As such, the technology is anticipated to become a useful tool for doctors in training. Students, for instance, can participate in various simulations, which will help them understand the experiences of an elderly person.
The simulation suits were developed in Japan by Koken, a company that also creates a variety of other innovative medical simulations products. The suit, in particular, can brace the knees, wrists, and elbows, making it extremely difficult for the user to walk. It can also strain the muscles, thereby recreating the pain of the aging process. Moreover, the suit includes goggles that simulate vision impairments, such as glaucoma, as well as ear buds that block higher frequency sounds that the elderly cannot hear due to hearing loss.
Simulation Suits: Applications to the real world
Aside from using these simulation suits, medical students must also complete an entire simulation involving mannequin patients. During this process, doctors-in-training will go through the motions of an actual hospital, without ever touching a real patient. This is to ensure that students are fully prepared to take care of their patients.