Many health experts advise people to stay away from hospital emergency rooms in July. Why? Because that’s when all of the eager, doe-eyed interns begin their lives as medical residents. While some might have gone to top-named medical schools, they still lack the hands-on experience. Prospective doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, however, are not given the chance to practice on patients. Interns must first endure a boot camp of a number of different emergencies using medical mannequins.
The hospital's program requires interns to undergo two to three days of simulated caregiving. More than 90 percent of them pass the first time, but they are retested if they fail. They are rated on proper techniques for everything from handling a newborn baby to suturing patients.
"We have great residents who come from all over the country, but we have no reliable way of knowing that these interns possess these skills," said Dr. Diane Wayne, the medical school's vice dean of education who created the program in 2011, according to the Associated Press. "We just don't want to subject patients to newly minted residents" with uncertain expertise.
The program won an award in 2012 for its innovation from the Association of American Medical Colleges. "We're looking more and more at what we can do toward the end of medical school to optimize that preparation," the association's Dr. Robert Englander told the AP. He added that the hospitals are starting to increase patient safety.
Residents from the program have, for the most part, given positive feedback. Namita Jain, a 25-year-old recent graduate told the AP that despite being nervous, the boot camp helped raise her confidence.