Education simulator obtained at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp.

A gastroenterology simulator provides training opportunities for upper and lower endoscopic procedures.
Submitted photo

A gastroenterology simulator provides training opportunities for upper and lower endoscopic procedures.

TUBA CITY, Ariz. — Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) Department of General/Trauma Surgery recently added a gastroenterology (GI) patient simulator, which will provide training opportunities for gastrointestinal upper and lower endoscopic procedures.

The GI mentor will also offer over 30 tasks and virtual patient scenarios.

The simulation lab will provide the latest technology in medical simulation and surgical skills for students, residents, and physicians at TCRHCC and in the region. The lab provides various training opportunities with true-to-life patient cases.

“The role of simulation is important in medical training and education,” said Dr. Vanessa Jensen, a general/trauma surgeon. “These progressive technologies allow for surgical residents to experience multiple situations in an environment that mimics a variety of surgical endoscopy scenarios.”

The administration, along with the physicians in Tuba City, realize that the national shortage of physicians and other providers will eventually affect the services and care that is provided in the clinics and hospital in Tuba City and rural areas nationwide. Planning for the future means recruiting and training younger providers, and helping to make sure they are well prepared for treating our patients.

“TCRHCC is a quiet leader among quality physicians, and building programs that promote safety and quality are at the forefront of our surgical professional team,” said Lynette Bonar, CEO, FACHE.

TCRHCC teaches medical students, certified nurse anesthetist students, midwifery students, dental students, pharmacy students and medical residents from many disciplines including internal and family medicine, general surgery and obstetrics and gynecology. Some of these students and residents are from Arizona, and many of them come from across the United States to experience rural medicine on the Navajo Reservation.

Jensen and Dr. Kathleen Harner, academic dean with Department of Academic Affairs and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at TCRHCC, recognized the importance of a Simulation Lab to the residency program and worked with hospital partners, the University of Arizona/Banner Department of General Surgery Residency, and others to make it happen.

Jensen, who was born and raised in Tuba City graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson and completed her residency at the University of Arizona General Surgery Residency Program. She rotated at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation as a medical student and as a surgical resident. She began her surgical career in Tuba City in 2009. She is also the director of TCRHCC general surgery clerkships and the site director for the TCRHCC/University of Arizona General Surgery Residency Rotations.

“It takes a team effort to train the surgeons of tomorrow and I’m very grateful for Dr. Jensen to build and oversee the simulation lab for our residents and staff,” Harner said. “The goal of the simulation training is to ensure that patient safety is foremost important. There are only four centers in our region that have the simulator and only one that gives the Fundamentals of Endoscopic Surgery (FES). They are Banner Health, St Joseph’s Dignity and the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix and the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. Now, TCRHCC is part of the region.”

Jensen envisions TCRHCC will remain the premiere Endoscopic Center on the Navajo Nation saying the progressive technologies allow for TCRHCC to be the premier location to train and it keeps TCRHCC committed to providing a quality and safe healthcare.

“All five of us, the general/trauma surgeons, are clinical assistant professors of surgery with University of Arizona College of Medicine. As teachers of tomorrow’s surgeons, we are honored to strive for excellence and remain dedicated to providing the best evidenced-based medicine to our patients and teaching those standards to future doctors.”

“I commend Dr. Kathleen Harner and our Administration at TCRHCC for their efforts to advance our surgical training to the next level for the benefit of our patients and our future surgeons and doctors,” Jensen said.

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