By Columbia University Medical Center 

In medicine, as in other fields where a beginner’s mistake can be fatal, simulation-based training bridges the gap between learning and doing.

At Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S), medical students practice everything from taking a patient’s medical history - with actors playing the part of “standardized patients” - to resuscitation on high-tech mannequins. Midway through their fourth year, students demonstrate their competency in simulated scenarios as part of the US Medical Licensing Examination’s Step 2 clinical skills assessment.

The role of simulation training for medical students will increase when Columbia’s new 14-story Medical and Graduate Education Building opens in 2016. The 100,000-square-foot facility will set aside nearly 15 percent of its space for a simulation center: 13,300 square feet dedicated to training rooms featuring standardized patients and computerized, whole-body mannequins.

In practice exam rooms wired for high-fidelity sound and video recording, professors will be able to use playback much as the coaches of professional athletes and musicians do - to highlight effective behaviors and point out mistakes.

Read more in this article in Columbia Medicine magazine.