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Videos Teach Med Students To Care For Critically Ill

October 15, 2007

By Laura Pratt

Dr. Shelly Dev, Clinical Associate, Critical Care, is leading a new way to teach medical students and residents at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. With support from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in Boston, she is creating Critical Care instructional videos that show how to perform non-surgical procedures in the safest way possible. Examples of non-surgical procedures include: inserting intravenous lines into the neck and tubes inserted in the chest, lungs and heart. The procedures can be high risk if not done properly; however, when done properly the risk is significantly reduced.

“We really wanted to lower the potential risk of these procedures even further,” says Dr. Dev. “and we knew that if students really grasped the concepts well from the beginning, there would be less chance of error.”

The instructional videos are put together in a way that’s attention grabbing, concise and realistic. Dr. Dev uses animation, graphics and real footage to drive the lessons home. Simulators are often used to provide an interactive learning experience for surgical residents; however few centres in Canada are using the video approach to teach non-surgical procedures in Critical Care.

All filming is done at Sunnybrook and Dr. Dev is involved in all aspects of creating the videos. “I storyboard and script the videos, then film and edit them.”

The first video in the series covers chest tube insertion. The second video nearing completion instructs physicians on the steps involved in brain death declaration. This video was funded by the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation and will be distributed to physicians across Canada. Both videos will be available online for use by residents at Sunnybrook.

Funding for the videos’ equipment and resources comes from the Department of Critical Care at Sunnybrook, which provides financial support for educational projects like this one.

Says Critical Care physician, Dr. Robert Fowler, “There is really so much at stake when it comes to instructing our students. We have a duty to support people, like Dr. Dev, who are creating the most innovative and complete method of teaching. It is for the safety and well being of our patients after all.”

Dr. Dev agrees, “These days the method needs to be riveting and creative. It is not enough to simply stand by the bedside and describe what you’re doing. Students need to be stimulated more than before, as they have grown up in a more high-tech, visually stimulating world.”

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