Mannequins help hone skills

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
Dr David Burton
Sarah Argyle

CHANGING MEDICINE: Anaesthetist Dr David Burton is excited about what new educational ultrasounds will mean for doctors.

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An innovative new partnership between Waitemata District Health Board and the brand new Well Foundation will help medical staff perfect their skills using state-of-the art surgical mannequins.

The mannequins will be used to train doctors in a range of specialist procedures and diagnostics at an Ultrasound Procedural Training Unit that will be the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The foundation plans to raise $120,000 for the unit which aims to become a national teaching facility for medical staff from a broad range of specialties.

The mannequins have lifelike anatomy that will enable staff to perform medical procedures using ultrasound scans.

Anaesthetist Dr David Burton says they will help qualified and student doctors alike.

"Nowadays you have to demonstrate your ongoing competency to perform things. These mannequins will allow us the chance to practise safer, quicker procedures with less patient discomfort."

The scans give an exact picture of the placement of surgical instruments or needles inside the body and are being increasingly used in procedures such as biopsies, anaesthesia, emergency care and chest drainage. Learning to interpret the scans on the mannequins helps medical staff complete procedures as accurately and quickly as possible. The unit will be housed in North Shore Hospital's Awhina Department.

Awhina director Dr John Cullen says there are a number of reasons why the models are vital to the education of doctors.

"There is an increasing reluctance from patients to be practised on."

He says the unit will benefit staff in a number of departments in the DHB area that includes the North Shore, Rodney and west Auckland.

Well Foundation chief executive Andrew Young says the unit is exactly the kind of new and exciting project that the foundation wants to support.

He says the project is innovative and will have fantastic benefits for the DHB, possibly providing potential revenue as a national first by attracting trainees from around the country.

The foundation will prioritise projects around innovation, smart use of technology and new initiatives that enable Waitemata DHB to be a lead in healthcare, Young says.

To find out more about the Well Foundation, or to donate online, visit wellfoundation.org.nz

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