Abstract

The need for biomedical engineering (BME) students to be trained in real-world healthcare settings, where most medical device industry emerges, is imperative. Clinical immersion helps accomplish this training goal. However, the growing student population in the field of BME and a shortage of clinical collaborators offer serious limitations to the clinical immersion experience. This paper describes the use of a clinical simulation-based training (SBT) tool in BME education as an alternative resource to the real-world clinical immersion experience. Through the inclusion of simulation labs in BME courses, we assessed their efficacy in need-finding and enhancing students' understanding of the current challenges of existing medical technology. We also explored the possibility of offering cross-disciplinary learning environments in these simulation labs, including engineers and students from other healthcare disciplines such as nursing. Simulation labs served as a helpful tool in the need-finding phase of the design process, and the immersed students reported higher adaptive and life-long learning outcomes. Students also reported the simulation lab immersion to be valuable to their future goals as engineers. Furthermore, the SBT labs offered repetitive training in a controlled learning environment, inclusion of an interdisciplinary setting, and feedback through student reflections. The inclusion of simulation lab immersion and SBT labs in the two BME courses served as an useful and alternative educational tool that helped train students to better understand the needs of the healthcare industry while working in interdisciplinary settings.

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