Medical Emergency Training

Every dentist is concerned with the possibility that one of their patients might experience a life-threatening medical emergency during dental treatment. That concern grows when he or she considers how they and their office staff might respond when faced with such a crisis. "Am I prepared? Will I know what to do? What if the patient stops breathing? Which drug should I give?" These questions, and more, swirl through the dentist’s mind and promote panic and indecision. Fortunately, medical emergencies are rare, but it is this rarity that fosters uncertainty. A first in dental education, the School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Dental Anesthesiology has pioneered the development of a clinically-based emergency simulation program which, in conjunction with formal classroom training, enables predoctoral dental students to participate in the management of common medical emergencies using a team approach. Using high-fidelity human simulators at the University’s WISER Center, a world-class multidisciplinary simulation-based training facility, we are providing a way for dental students to experience and treat patients undergoing a medical emergency in real time. Students come away from the experience with an increased ability to apply learned material to a realistic clinical situation, and to approach their patients with confidence and skill. The WISER experience is another example of the dental school’s commitment to excellence in predoctoral education as a means to provide our community with the most prepared and qualified practitioners that dentistry has to offer.