Engineering students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) have 3D printed medical training tools to be used by undergraduates in UAH's College of Nursing. These tools help aspiring nurses practice important medical procedures on life-like healthcare simulators.
Dr. Lori Lioce, Clinical Associate Professor at UAH ‘s College of Nursing, and Norven Goddard, a Research Scientist at UAH’s Systems Management and Production (SMAP) Center, decided to use the university's 3D printers to create their own models after recognizing the growing trend of using 3D printed medical models for task training.
"These models cost more than a thousand dollars, but we wanted something that would save money, be cost-effective and use the university’s resources," said Goddard.
Lioce formed a team comprising of engineering and computer science students to help produce the task trainers. The team first 3D printed a cricothyrotomy trainer, a model of a patient’s neck used to practice emergency procedures to clear a patient's airway. (The task trainer’s digital design files are available on Thingiverse. The team created over four accessible models for all medical classes.)
The team also created an onychectomy trainer, a device used to practice the removal of thumbnails. Lastly, they 3D printed a vein finder, which usually costs hundreds of dollars. The team was able to create these devices using $6 open-source design files.
By utilitizing 3D printing, an estimated $6,000 was saved on medical training equipment and has given practitioners at UAH the opportunity to practice specific skills in preparation for providing healthcare in the real world.
Lioce, Goddard and the student team plan to teach other nursing students how to 3D print with upcoming projects to create an injection simulation pad and 3D medical models.
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