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History of Simulation-Based Training

Simulation-based training (SBT) has a rich history spanning thousands of years, evolving from rudimentary methods to sophisticated simulations that accurately mimic real-life scenarios. This brief overview highlights key milestones in the development of SBT.

Ancient Origins

SBT traces its roots back to ancient civilizations, where various forms of simulation were used to train individuals for real-life situations. Stone carvings dating back to 24,000–22,000 BC in Eurasia suggest early attempts at simulating the human form. In Babylonia (1900–1600 BC), clay livers were believed to be used for medical training, while Lau Tzu described automation machines in the 6th century BC.

Classical Era

During the classical era, influential figures such as Hippocrates and Aristotle emphasized the practical training of health professionals through repetition and feedback. The Sushruta Samhita, dating back to ancient India, documented surgical training using wooden simulators.

Medieval and Renaissance Periods

In medieval China, physicians utilized life-sized bronze statues for teaching anatomy and acupuncture. In Europe, anatomical figures and wax models were employed to circumvent restrictions on human dissections imposed by the Catholic Church. The 18th century witnessed significant advancements, including the development of obstetric simulators and early attempts at cardiovascular simulation.

20th Century: The "Dark Age" and Revival

The 20th century saw both stagnation and progress in SBT. While some regard it as a "dark age," characterized by limited advancements, others note notable developments such as the creation of training dolls and manikins by Martha Jenkins Chase and the US Army, respectively.

Modern Era: Technological Revolution

The latter half of the 20th century witnessed a resurgence in SBT, driven by technological advancements. Innovations like Resusci Anne and high-fidelity simulators revolutionized training by offering realistic yet cost-effective models. Simulators like SimOne and the Harvey simulator further enhanced training capabilities, paving the way for modern computerized simulators.

Contemporary Landscape

Today, simulation-based training has become indispensable in healthcare education and beyond. Its ability to provide safe, immersive learning experiences has led to widespread adoption and continuous innovation. From ancient clay models to cutting-edge computerized simulators, SBT has evolved to meet the evolving needs of learners, ultimately enhancing patient care and safety.

This brief history underscores the enduring legacy of simulation-based training, highlighting its role as a cornerstone of education and professional development across centuries.

Source: A review on the evolution of simulation-based training to help build a safer future. By Jared Bienstock, MS, CCP, CES-A, and Albert Heuer, PhD, MBA, RRT. Medicine 101(25):p e29503, June 24, 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000029503 Read More