High-stakes scenarios are common in medical practice. Patients’ morbidity and mortality can hinge on physician accuracy, leadership, communication and psychomotor skills. Training physicians to avoid medical errors by competently navigating high-stakes scenarios is challenging for residency programs given the limitations created by reduced work hours and shorter hospital stays among patients.

New technology in medical simulation training has allowed some training programs to transform the medical education from an ad hoc process, dependent on finding real patients with specific conditions of interest, to a proactive system. It allows physicians-in-training the opportunity to practice patient care in difficult or high-stakes scenarios without harm to real patients and until competency is demonstrated.

The Waco Family Medicine Residency Program has collaborated with McLennan Community College School of Nursing to develop a simulation training experience for residents. The training occurs in the MCC Health Professions Simulation building, a new 15,600-square-foot simulation lab that rivals the best in the country. In these simulation experiences, using high-fidelity mannequins and state-of-the-art audio-visual recording system, residents practice high-stakes scenarios in an environment that accurately replicates real-patient care. Immediately following each simulation, residents receive feedback from faculty that helps achieve competency in the multiple skills required for competent management of critical situations. Residents spend at least eight half-days of simulation training, with additional opportunities available as needed.