New docs get boot camp before treating real patients

Doctors are often thrust into life-or-death scenarios and young doctors have the responsibility of treating patients without experience. As scary as that might be for the doctor, the patient is probably terrified of having an inexperienced doctor. Fortunately, USA Today highlights a new practice that involves a boot camp for doctors to practice without using real patients.

At a Chicago hospital, these new doctors must perform mock baby deliveries, wound stitching, and simulated pregnancies. Using models and actors, these doctors are put through rigorous tests before they are allowed to interact with actual patients. Until they pass the tests, they are not allowed to move on.

According to the Star Tribune, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and its adjoining Feinberg medical school implemented this boot camp. It is a program involving two to three days of intense practice before letting the newbies loose on patients. Young doctors are tested on a variety of skills, from the proper technique for handling newborns during childbirth to delivering bad news. About 90 percent of new doctors pass on the first try and they are retested until they do.

Medical professionals are paying attention to this model. In 2012, the program won an innovation award from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The association noted that the boot camp is part of a trend in doctor training, demonstrating that hospitals are increasingly focused on patient safety.