University of Pittsburgh

ACIE Award 2009

Learning with Nasal Anatomy Simulation

Joshua Dunklebarger and Berrylin Ferguson

Joshua L. Dunklebarger

EEI 500 Pittsburgh

Berrylin Ferguson

EEI 500 Pittsburgh (412) 232-8989

During the course of training, every nursing and medical student must learn how to insert a nasal tube into a patient’s esophagus and stomach. Currently, this procedure is learned by observation, then practiced under supervision on volunteers or patients.  With their project NASAL: Nasal Anatomy, Simulation, and Learning, Joshua Dunklebarger and Berrylin Ferguson, Otolaryngology, hope to set the standard for immediate-feedback simulation of the nasal anatomy. Based on an earlier effort in which Ferguson created a silicon model of the nasal anatomy, this project has produced several nasal anatomy models which include sensors connected to a software program.  By using images of real procedures, this software is able to show students where they would be inside the patient along with a diagram of their progress, as well as alert them when they’ve encountered a painful or sensitive area.  The models appear extremely lifelike, and are able to recreate common medical conditions with interchangeable nasal inserts.

Before using the model, each student will take a pre-test, and then be instructed on anatomy and technique.  After an opportunity to practice with the model, the student will take a post-test, the results of which will be compared to the pre-test. A passing score—the student will be evaluated on speed and accuracy—will be required before the student attempts nasal intubation on an actual patient. Students’ comfort with these procedures is essential, as Dunklebarger says, and “simulation provides a non-threatening environment and an important foundation that helps to improve outcomes in stressful situations.” The models will be circulated through the Schools of Nursing and Medicine, ensuring that approximately 400 students a year will have a chance to practice with NASAL.

2009 Teaching Times

Shows four images of the nasal simulation software This image shows four different views of the nasal simulation software.
Image of the nasal simulation three dimentional model This image shows the nasal simulation three dimentional model used by students.