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Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 00:22 GMT
Training for 'PlayStation medics'
Image from surgicalskills.net
Surgeons are shown how to insert a tube to keep the airways clear
A training system has been developed for doctors raised on computer games on consoles like PlayStation.

Two broadband virtual-learning packages have been designed by Medcom to help newly-qualified doctors learn basic skills and surgical procedures.

Doctors can watch the procedures in 3D and look up notes to help them prepare for exams or for a real-life operation.

The Royal College of Surgeons, England, said it hoped the programme would be a "useful adjunct" to training.

These packages will help to ensure that the 'PlayStation' generation of doctors and surgeons are as confident with their instruments as they are with their consoles
Warren Hobden, Medcom

Changes to the hours trainee doctors are allowed to work mean there can be less time to practice techniques so hospitals and tutors are looking at supplementary ways of passing on information.

The package outlining foundation skills, which is being recommended by the RCS, demonstrates procedures such as lumbar punctures.

The RCS has approved it as part of the foundation training programme undertaken by trainee doctors in the first two years following medical school.

NHS trusts, including Southampton University Hospitals, have already adopted the package as part of their training programme.

A second package showing surgical skills demonstrates techniques ranging from removing a toenail to drilling into a skull.

A trial of the package by Medcom with surgical trainees in Liverpool found knowledge amongst trainee surgeons increased by over 50% after using the package.

'Enhancing expertise'

Medcom's Warren Hobden said: "These packages will help to ensure that the 'PlayStation' generation of doctors and surgeons are as confident with their instruments as they are with their consoles, improving care and treatment for patients.

We hope that access to these online materials will be a useful adjunct to the other programme materials
Royal College of Surgeons England spokeswoman

"As part of their training, pilots have to complete up to 60 hours in-flight simulators before they qualify to carry passengers, so it's only right that we should offer similar technology-based training to the medical profession to safeguard the health of patient."

Steve Leveson, professor of surgery at Hull and York Medical School, said: "Surgical training is more regulated than at any time in the past.

"Changes in patterns of disease and work practices have resulted in a significant reduction in the practical surgical exposure for trainee surgeons.

"It is therefore important that every trainee has the opportunity to enhance their expertise in fundamental surgical procedures and fine-tune their skills in a safe virtual environment."

A spokeswoman for the RCS England said: "We hope that access to these online materials will be a useful adjunct to the other programme materials and we will be monitoring feedback from the trainees carefully."




SEE ALSO
Surgical training 'cut by half'
28 Oct 04 |  Health
More nurses to perform surgery
24 Mar 05 |  Health
Warning over surgeons' training
20 Feb 04 |  Health

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