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Partial Task Trainers are the simulator of choice when the goal of a simulation is to practice a psychomotor skill in isolation. They allow learners to practice one specific task, such as endotracheal intubation or venous cannulation. They typically don’t incorporate much “patient” feedback, such as pain from the procedure or changes in vital signs.
Patients have a right to receive the best care that can be reasonably provided. It is understood that clinicians-in-training will treat patients; however, from an ethical perspective, harm to patients as a byproduct of training or lack of experience is justified only after maximizing approaches that do not put patients at risk (Ziv A, Wolpe PR, Small SD, Glick S. Simulation based medication education: An ethical imperative. Simulation in Healthcare. 2006; 1(4): 252-256.). One of the benefits of a partial task trainer is that it can allow instructors to validate a skill prior to allowing a novice to perform that skill on a real person. This allows trainees to have their first encounters with real patients when they are at higher levels of technical and clinical proficiency.
Some examples of frequently used partial task trainers in our simulation programs include:
- Airway management heads
- Difficult airway management heads
- Advanced venipuncture arms
- Intraosseous bones and legs
- Ultrasound-compatible central line trainers
- Arterial puncture wrists
- Lumbar puncture trainers
- Pelvic exam trainers