Tony Chen, M.D.
I’ve always had an intrinsic draw towards teaching and mentoring others. Just the other day I was walking a junior trainee through a bedside procedure in the hospital. She had never used one of the instruments, and, with my guidance, we were able to successfully complete the procedure safely and efficaciously. I was trained in that same way. However after the encounter I thought to myself: “isn’t there a better way to do this?” I feel strongly that with better simulators and more emphasis on simulation, the first time someone does a procedure should not be on a live patient. There should be room to make errors and to learn from them. I walked away from that encounter inspired to create a simulator for that specific common procedure, which currently the only way to learn to do is first hand. Some things you can learn from books, but others you can only do by doing.
This fellowship has prepared me to be an expert in the field of medical simulation. It has given me the knowledge of how to plan, execute and assess simulation curricula, a skill which will be crucial towards teaching the next generation of medical personnel. Wherever I go in my career, I will be equipped to support institutional efforts in reducing medical errors by ensuring that the first time a provider does a procedure it is not on a patient, but rather, a simulator. I came into this fellowship thinking as an urologist and that my simulation expertise would only be applicable to other urologists. However, with the exposure I’ve received this year to other simulation experts, I now have a broader view of just how impactful my expertise can be to all surgical and medical care.
My emphasis on creating a foley catheter simulator has generated significant enthusiasm amongst the UW Medicine staff who have repeatedly voiced that the current state of foley catheter insertion training – from the models used to teach to the standards and expectations of learners – needs to be revamped. When I show nurses and other doctors the kind of high-fidelity simulator we are developing, they all say unequivocally that they are excited to be able to train on that high-quality of a simulator some day.
This past year I submitted a provisional patent for an automatic bladder irrigation device that could improve patient safety and reduce nursing burden.
Some of my goals for the next year include:
• Institute a team-based training program for emergencies in robotic surgeries to train nurses, anesthesia staff and surgeons on how to react and manage an intraoperative emergency safely and quickly.
• Finalize a novel foley catheter simulator and implement it in University of Washington training procedures.
• Continue to be a clinical mentor in developing a human tissue database that would allow us to have the data necessary to make simulators look and feel and behave more realistically.
Chen, T, Sweet, RM. Surgical Simulation in Urology. American Urological Association Updates Series [Accepted for Publication]