Home Berlin News Virtua simulation center focuses on ‘real world’ surgical skills

Virtua simulation center focuses on ‘real world’ surgical skills

Courtesy of Virtua Health-Berlin
Medical colleagues celebrate the opening of the new facility, situated in the Virtua Health and Wellness Center on Townsend Avenue.

Virtua Health has opened a state-of-the-art simulation center in Berlin to provide immersive and hands-on experiences for health-care students and professionals in operating room procedures.

The center is situated in the multi-purpose Virtua Health and Wellness Center on Townsend Avenue and features two mock-operating suites, an observation area and a dedicated classroom to focus on refining surgical skills in realistic conditions.

“We want to keep our patients safe from harm,” said Melissa Weissman, director of clinical practice and education at Virtua. “A part of that is knowing how to wash your hands and gowns and gloves properly, and that’s something you need to take time and practice.”

The simulation center caters to a diverse range of health-care professionals working in operating rooms, including nursing and medical students and residents – some from the Virtua Health College of Medicine and Life Sciences of Rowan University – who will undergo multi-week training programs. Virtua staff can utilize the center to enhance existing skills or develop advanced techniques.

“The stakes are high in a real operating room,” emphasized Margaret “Meg” Coley, vice president of surgical services for Virtua. “Everyone must work in harmony and carry out their role with care and precision. The sim center gives students and established professionals a chance to learn, grow, and gain confidence.

“Like with all aspects of life, practice is essential.”

AnneMarie Palatnik, vice president of clinical learning and research at Virtua, pointed out the meticulous attention to detail required in maintaining a safe operating-room environment. The simulation center focuses on areas like Personal Protective Equipment and surgical techniques.

“Our aim is for the sim center is to replicate the real world by having future doctors, nurses, technicians, and support staff hone their abilities side by side,” explained Palatnik. “This collaborative, supportive space helps us to ready the next generation of health-care leaders.”

Virtua is affiliated with the Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine, the largest of its kind in the state, along with nursing schools and the School of Translational Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. It offers 11 medical residency and fellowship programs and clinical rotations across its South Jersey campuses.

Daniel Moise, Virtua director of communications and engagement, emphasized the value of hands-on experience with real tissue samples to prepare medical residents for surgical practice.

“By getting to practice on these samples, the residents are getting hands-on experience with real tissue, but in a safe space,” he related. “This is great training to help them one day perform surgery on actual, living people.”

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