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EMIG Day: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Students’ Take on Medical Simulation
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By Arielle King


“Okay, this looks serious. Let’s call 9-1-1.”

The scene leader looked at me after the words left my mouth and stated flatly: “You ARE 9-1-1.”

Without even a month of medical experience, I along with a handful of other MS1s had been thrown into a simulation where we were expected to know “medicine”. The realization that I was no longer a bystander or a helpless pre-med struck me like a bolt of lightning. I was now a doctor-in-training, and people were relying on me to care for them and to make the right calls in the heat of the moment.

EMIG Day (named after the EM Interest Group) was one of the first hands-on opportunities open to the incoming MS1 class of UT Southwestern Medical School. My peers and I scrambled for the chance to see what kind of exciting experiences medical school had in store for us. Forty students were split into groups of four and rotated between classrooms in which medical emergencies had been prepared. Some of the upperclassmen played the role of a distraught, injured patient while others would serve as informants and bystanders. Cases ranged from treating a man who had eaten peanut butter cookies - despite his allergies - to another who had collapsed in the middle of a basketball game, clutching his chest. Treatments were simple: splint and swathe a broken arm, administer an Epi-Pen, give sublingual nitroglycerine. At the same time, the simulations also tested situational awareness. Extracting crucial information from a family member, asking the bystander to step aside, and finding the peanut butter cookies – these were all critical actions that each student needed to accomplish to understand the situation. At the rest stations, we got to enjoy a winning combination: eating pizza and talking to EM residents, learning about what motivated them to choose emergency medicine. Through this experience, I realized how woefully little I knew – yet I was absolutely thrilled to my core by the excitement of patient care and emergency medicine.

Half a year later, after inheriting the organization, my fellow officers and I have spent many long hours organizing EMIG Day Part 2. In addition to increasing the capacity of the event, we hope to build upon what our predecessors started by making the cases more realistic through moulage and further testing situational awareness through a mass casualty incident. The scenarios will also be a lot more complex and stem directly from pathology that we’ve learned about in our courses. By creating scenarios with emphasis on the organ systems that we just studied, our goal is to show our peers in the MS1 class just how much we have learned in this first year of medical school. For example, we created a scenario inspired by our cardiovascular block that will require listening to heart sounds, reading an EKG, and obtaining a chest x-ray. As a tribute to our musculoskeletal block, we’ll have a pelvic fracture that leads to hypovolemic shock. To represent our toxicology lectures, we’ll have a drug overdose patient and so on.

As the day of the event approaches and preparations begin coming together, I can’t help but feel ecstatic for our class to prove how far we’ve come and how capable we are now. By the end of EMIG Day Part 2, I hope each student sees the manifestation of their year of hard work and is filled with confidence, walking away feeling ready to take on any 9-1-1 call.

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