Students in Trocaire College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS) and Echocardiography (Echo) certificate programs are now learning real-life skills from cutting edge simulation software, thanks to a grant from the James H. Cummings Foundation.
The $25,370 grant award allowed the college to purchase SonoSim software, which simulates a broad range of clinical ultrasound scenarios, from normal to pathologic. In addition to the technology, the grant also covers the accompanying hardware: 41 gel pads and “sonosimulator” wands, which replicate the experience of using an actual ultrasound probe on real patients.
Imaging faculty and students trained on the software early in the Fall 2019 semester. Sixty-four training modules exist, and each one includes 60-90 minutes of content lecture as well as hands-on assignments to obtain certain images and measurements and a concluding test. These SonoSim exercises can be used for classroom demonstrations, one-on-one practice and to conduct clinical assessments of fundamental skills.
Director of Medical Imaging Jennifer Beirdneau, MA Ed., RT(R) (MR), said simulation software like SonoSim immensely benefits students. Though real-life clinical experiences are irreplaceable, relying on them exclusively can offer limited variation from routine scans, and there is often high competition for placement with other training programs. SonoSim will allow Trocaire to bypass these limitations.
“This software allows our Echo and DMS students to simulate live patient imaging and gain practice conducting a wide array of ultrasound exams with both normal and abnormal pathologies,” she said. “This sort of simulation in the classroom setting provides a training environment where they can learn from mistakes and practice essential competencies until they are proficient.”
One of the missions of the James H. Cummings Foundation is to support education for those entering the medical professions. Mary Jo Hunt, the foundation’s executive director and secretary, said funding Trocaire’s SonoSim purchase is directly in line with that goal.
“We are excited to be partnering with Trocaire College in the investment in this innovative SonoSim technology for educating and providing hands-on training for the college’s Medical Imaging students,” she said. “We know students who complete these programs utilizing this technology will be well prepared to serve the Western New York community when they enter the healthcare workforce.”