Fort Worth Medical Students Learn How to Suture Wounds Using Simulated Skin

TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine prepares second-year medical students for inpatient hospital immersions.

By Prescotte Stokes III

FORT WORTH – When medical students at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine begin Phase 2 of their medical education, they get the opportunity to experience inpatient immersions that will orient them to hospital environments, help them understand their role on a care team and help them learn how to care for acutely ill patients.

Prior to heading into those hospital immersions the students participate in five weeks of Transition to Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (TLIC) sessions. The sessions are designed to prepare the students for the Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) through skill development in a clinical learning environment.

Several of those sessions took place in the medical school’s Simulation and Technology lab that is led by Kevin Kunkler, M.D., executive director, simulation, education, innovation and research professor at TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine.

“We wanted to make sure that they had a basic foundation for things like knot tying and for suturing in case they had the opportunity to do it when they were on their clinical rotations,” Dr. Kunkler said.

In one of those sessions, the medical students learned how to suture open wounds using life-like chunks of simulated skin that were created by Dr. Kunkler and his team. They also were able to get some help  in creating a solid tray for the skin to sit in utilizing 3-D printing technology from the TCU Library team.

“They have several different 3-D printers over at their facility and we needed something like a tray to be able to fit the skin in,” Dr. Kunkler said.

Using that 3-D printed base to stabilize the skin, the medical students were able to learn how to perform two important types of knots – the two-hand knot tie and the one-hand knot tie.

“Depending on what situations they are in, you use a two-hand knot tie, which is really the traditional tie,” said Dr. Kunkler. “There are some situations where you are in the abdomen or you’re trying to go deep into the wound and that second hand almost kind of gets in the way. So, you’ll have to do what is known as a one-handed tying technique as well.”

The medical students also had sessions on properly caring for newborns and infants, performing CPR, getting properly dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE) and much more prior to their inpatient immersions that include rotations in Internal Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Pediatrics; and Surgery clerkships throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.