Specialized Training at CELA

In 2008, VUSOM started its first year of multidisciplinary clinical orientation for surgery and anesthesia interns. The goal was to ease the anxiety of the transition into internship year and to teach basic skills that all interns would ideally possess when they “hit the wards.” In July 2009, the session extended to medicine interns and incorporated institutional efforts to standardize approaches to procedures such as vascular access, airway management and patient hand- offs. In 2010, the sessions were extended to include emergency medicine interns as well as pediatric medicine Interns. Critical Care anesthesiologists train the interns during a two-day Boot Camp, which emphasizes best-practice, standardized care to improve patient safety.


In 2005, Vanderbilt Critical Care anesthesiologists began teaching Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS), a two-day national course developed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). These courses are increasingly popular, and because of internal demand, the course was expanded over a month so that any medical student or resident rotating through a Vanderbilt ICU can receive their FCCS certification.


In 2007, one week of the 13-week Surgical Sciences’ curriculum was allotted to the Department of Anesthesiology, and a new course, Critical Care Skills Week, which is offered four times a year, was developed for third-year medical students. During this week, the students do pre-op assessments with standardized patients, airway management, acute pain management, basics of EKG, invasive monitoring, managing respiratory failure, myocardial infarction, shock, anesthesia monitoring, trauma/burn fluid management, electrolyte/acid-base disorders, ventilators, ethical topics in critical care and more. At the end of this week, the students are also FCCS-certified.


Another unique training program offered at CELA is Teamwork Day, a program in which first-year medical students at Vanderbilt School of Medicine have their teamwork skills and quick thinking put to the test during a full day of demanding, simulated exercises. The simulations, as well as other educational activities occurring in other locations on campus, are part of the two-week “Foundations of the Profession” course added to the curriculum for first-year medical students in 2007. The Foundations Course prepares students for their entry into the medical profession, introducing them to core skills in a concentrated time frame. During the CELA exercises, more than 100 students interact with “standardized patients,” individuals paid to rehearse their scripts and create difficult situations for the students. Following each exercise, students are debriefed about their actions and given feedback by many of the School of Medicine’s top anesthesiology and surgical faculty who serve as facilitators during the event.