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The mission of the Surgery Skills Lab is to provide a simulated environment where students, residents, and practicing physicians can learn and advance their technical skills prior to performing procedures on a patient.

The DMU Surgery Skills Lab is an integral part of the Iowa Simulation Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Skills. The lab and center are a state-of-the-art educational facility that provides an ideal controlled environment to help learners of all levels integrate medical knowledge and critical thinking, learn and practice fundamental and advanced technical skills, and practice and explore advances in technology.

Surgery skills labTraditionally, these skills have been taught at the bedside or in the operating room on real patients. With the explosion of recent technology and simulation models, the rising cost and unavailability of operating room time, the increasing complexity of procedures and devices, the risk associated with practicing procedures on real patients and pressures to limit the length of education time, medical and surgical educators are forced to change the traditional ways of training current and future physicians with the help of simulation.

The Surgery Skills Lab has the facilities and equipment needed to provide a comprehensive approach to surgical education. Completed in March 2006, the 4,000 square foot Surgery Skills Lab is located on campus at Des Moines University in the lower level of Ryan Hall. The facility consists of two large simulated operating room suites with multiple stations, eight scrub sinks, men’s and women’s locker rooms, physician lounge and storage room. A total of 20 students can easily be accommodated. Special equipment includes digital overhead camera, station monitors for viewing and recording procedures and laparoscopic equipment. Adjacent to the operating room suites are two large didactic rooms that include a wide range of surgical models, a computer lab, a conference room, office space, workroom and storage area.

Students at the basic surgical skills courseThe basic surgical skills course is an integral component of the curriculum for the D.O., D.P.M. and PA degree programs. The 20-hour progressive lab course includes didactic, hands-on skills experience and integration of critical thinking. It encompasses the AOA core competencies of medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism and systems-based practice. Instructors for the course include local and community faculty, general surgery residents or nurses and surgery teaching assistants. The student-to-instructor ratio is 1:2 during all aspects of the lab.

Both general surgery and family practice residents utilize the lab as a component of their curriculum to practice surgical skills. In addition, area surgeons are allowed the opportunity to advance surgical skills as new technology evolves and develops.

The DMU Surgery Skills Lab and Iowa Simulation Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Skills provide the ideal environment to teach and evaluate procedural and technical skills for all disciplines. If you are interested in using the Surgery Skills Lab or Iowa Simulation Center, please contact us for a tour of the facilities.