The physician assistant program makes extensive use of simulated learning methods for all students. This helps prepare students for supervised clinical practice experiences in the second year of the program.

Surgery Skills Lab

Des Moines University’s Surgery Skills Lab includes simulation model labs, a computer technology lab and a simulation operating room lab. Basic surgical skills instruction emphasizes the fundamentals of basic aseptic technique theory and suturing. It has a digital overhead camera, station monitors for viewing and recording prodedures and laparoscopic equipment.

Human simulation models

A group of human medical simulators help students learn to care for more critically ill “patients.” These life-like mannequins have heart, lung and bowel sounds which can be programmed to be normal or abnormal. Students can draw “blood” from the simulators, start IVs, catheterize, defibrillate, intubate and perform chest compressions. The obstetrical mannequin delivers babies that are in good health or those that require resuscitation.

Students in the simlabHarvey, the cardiac simulator is designed to reproduce abnormal heart sounds to teach students what murmurs, clicks, rubs, etc sound like. The sounds are used in conjunction with lectures on physiology and anatomy to help students learn what causes these abnormal heart sounds to appear. By using Harvey, the students learn how to perform an appropriate cardiac exam, which valves are affected with certain diseases and how to recognize common abnormal heart sounds.

Learn more about the Iowa Simulation Center.