Use of Clinical Simulation in Interventional Radiology Practice


Simulation is one of the ways technology has been used to better health education. It involves using environments, devices, and tools that imitate the essential aspects of the study areas. Simulation learning has been embraced in health education both in classroom study and clinical practice. This is due to its ability to provide conditions or environments that support safe learning and practice before the actual field. According to Miller et al. (2019), clinical simulation cannot be compared with traditional learning. This is so because, in simulation, technological advances are applied to ensure first-hand learning. Therefore, students/professionals are provided with ample opportunity to gain knowledge using hands-on experience with minimal risks involved.

The principle of knowledge in action is applied in simulation (Shah & Winokur, 2019). Therefore, on top of developing hands-on skills, learners can improve their logical thinking, decision-making skills, and communication skills overall. Interventional radiology is a healthcare area where simulation has been applied to ensure trainees’ safe practice before actual practice in the clinical area. This is related to invasive procedures involved in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions in interventional radiology.

Devices Involved in Simulation Learning

Simulation involves various activities ranging from invasive procedures to preventive care services (Mirza & Athreya, 2018). A conducive simulation learning setup involves various items, including manikins, medical simulators, virtual anatomy trainers, debriefing systems, and audiovisual recordings. In IR, thin instruments, such as catheters, stents, and guidewires, are needed to access the patient vascular system for proper imaging. For trainees to master hand-eye coordination, procedure protocol, and instrument manipulation, installing those devices is mandatory.

Simulation in Interventional Radiology Practice

Interventional radiologists are involved in managing a wide range of conditions and performing invasive procedures at times. Over time, training has been dependent on access to a range of scarce cases (Patel & Dennick, 2017). This makes the field unexploited, especially for students. This goes against research findings that clinical expertise is a complex phenomenon that demands a lot of skills acquisition. Simulation, an improved version of skills laboratory, has been approved to support students to develop confidence, skills, and knowledge needed in clinical practice and decision making.

In the simulation, various aspects of clinical learning, such as audio and video recording, have been incorporated into the learning process. Hence, after code debriefing and apprenticeship, it has been adopted to a wide level (Miller et al., 2019). Based on this, such specialties as vascular surgery and cardiology have adopted technology-based simulation for trainees. Trainees can develop technical skills and other competencies, such as communication skills, team working, and comprehensive care, geared towards safe practice. Practices, such as subtracted angiography, which require the operator’s utmost confidence, are better learned through simulation. Complications related to such procedures also carry significant consequences. Simulation exercise has proven to reduce such errors as catheter misplacement, even shortening the procedural durations.

According to Scherer and Winokur (2019), comprehensive simulation learning allows standardization of IR training. Individuals in the IR field are empowered to graduate from isolated tasks to the most complicated real clinical situations, such as hemorrhage, vascular disease, and cancer treatment. IR services are essential in both elective and emergency care. This creates a need for one to be composed in terms of what has to be carried out, especially in emergencies. Therefore, the practice of simulation ought to be linked with a real-life setting for exposure to avoid locking out of other essential learning needs necessary in the real-life healthcare setting. Image guidance inpatient treatment has significantly reduced patient morbidity and mortality, leading to a growing need for advanced training in interventional radiology.

In the past, IR training has majorly relied on the apprenticeship model. Trainees would scrub with a senior during the patient case for learning to take place. However, learning relied on the trainer, and patient safety would be in question whenever the trainee was given a chance to practice. Opportunities for every trainee to practice effectively were also limited. This explains why stimulation is highly embraced in the IR field of training (Mirza & Athreya, 2018). It is through the system that trainees are empowered to gain practical skills and confidence before real cases.

Significance of Simulation in Clinical Practice

The production of competent care providers to thrive in the ever-changing today’s healthcare environment is becoming a challenge for educators. This is especially so in such fields as IR, where invasive procedures are involved (Scherer & Winokur, 2019). The Healthcare sector is evolving each day and becoming a more complex environment. On the other hand, patients are becoming complicated too, as they are enlightened to clinical matters through technological accessories. Therefore, the education sector is challenged to find out techniques that will equip students with adequate clinical experiences, making them feel efficient to face the demanding world of practice. According to Miller et al. (2019), the new procedures learning curve has been reduced through simulation, especially for simple procedures. This allows students to focus on more advanced aspects of procedures when they come to real-life cases.

Changes in resources required for clinical practice, such as shortened hospital stay of patients, shortage of staff, and greater emphasis and concerns on medical errors, made a clinical practice for students in real settings difficult. The various literature review has identified benefits associated with simulation learning amidst these difficult times. Among the benefits identified of simulation, learning includes chances for active participation in diverse clinical settings, early exposure to critical scenarios, and opportunities to integrate teamwork, interprofessional skills, physical assessment, and clinical therapeutics (Scherer & Winokur, 2019).


The fidelity of simulation training, especially in IR training for invasive procedures, has been questioned (Miller et al., 2019). Many simulators do not exactly reflect the actual procedure limiting its effectiveness. The range of procedures carried out in IR is greater as compared to other fields. However, high fidelity technologically advanced programmed mannequin known as Human Patient Stimulator. HPS are anatomically precise and can portray physiological responses when being used in the conduction of procedures. There are opportunities for repeated practice geared towards requisite, refinement, and perfection of skills. Both summative and formative assessments from the supervisors are also made easier and possible.

Application to Clinical Practice

From the discussion, simulation is approved as an efficient learning practice that can be used among medical students to boost their confidence, skills, and knowledge with fewer risks involved before actual practice. However, it calls for a well-set simulation center for the simulation practice to be effective. For instance, using an advanced setting involving HPS works best both for the students and instructors. This is so because the HPS can be manipulated to depict the various clinical scenarios the student is likely to encounter during the actual practice, broadening the student experience. Therefore, installing a good simulation setup will be the first requirement for the simulation program’s clinical practice success. Some individuals have been trained and have gained expertise in the area. As a consequence, there is a need to acquire individuals who will be instructors with expertise in the area. The instructors will guide the students in the simulation field but link the experience to the real world since the experts are well conversant with the system, guiding them towards a smooth transition into the real world.

The students will be organized into groups for effective and efficient learning. Each group will be made of approximately five students. Then, each group will be expected to have their own complete setup as expected in the clinical area. Each setup will have an instructor who will guide the students through all they must master at that particular setup. After a given set time, the students will be required to shift to the next setup and pave the way for another group from another setup to gain experience. Therefore, the instructors will be expected to develop a schedule guiding students on which set up to be practicing at the given time. Consequently, all students should have rotated in all the given simulations set up and achieved their objectives. The simulation will be used alongside a real clinical setting for the students to relate and appreciate the experience without forgetting it.


The school administration plays a key role in ensuring the success of the program. The individuals at the administrative level are the ones to organize for resources required for the program. This intervention involves ensuring there are enough instructors to guide the students through the learning sessions. Expertise in the simulation program will be an essential part of the team. They will guide the administration ensuring all the required resources are established. The proficiency will also maintain the setup, ensuring durability and efficiency to be used by other incoming students. The experts will also serve as student instructors; they will impact students’ knowledge and skills, ensuring they achieve the confidence, skills, and knowledge required to handle real-life situations with fewer risks for practitioners and patients. What is more, the students will also be active participants. The corporation will be expected to ensure they gain as much as possible from the program and the setups are well maintained for others to use.


The advancement of technology in the education sector has revolutionized both surgical and medical practices. Training for specialties, such as interventional radiology, has become more streamlined and advanced with the innovations. Simulation is one of the teaching strategies employed through the advancement of technology enhancing the learning experience. Through simulation, learners can build on knowledge, skills, and experiences as expected in real patient scenarios in clinical settings. It provides a hands-on approach to evaluating the learner’s abilities in terms of skills, knowledge, critical thinking, and decision making, unlike in situations where exams are used to determine competency. Therefore, simulation provides legit opportunities relevant to a real clinical setup for experimental learning. It is a safe practice as professionals gain knowledge and experience without posing risks to patients and themselves.


Miller, Z. A., Amin, A., Tu, J., Echenique, A., & Winokur, R. S. (2019). Simulation-based training for interventional radiology and opportunities for improving the educational paradigm. Techniques in Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 22(1), 35-40. Web.

Mirza, S., & Athreya, S. (2018). Review of simulation training in interventional radiology. Academic Radiology, 25(4), 529-539.

Patel, R., & Dennick, R. (2017). Simulation-based teaching in interventional radiology training: Is it effective? Clinical Radiology, 72(3), 266.e7-266.e14. Web.

Scherer, K., & Winokur, R. S. (2019). Multidisciplinary team training simulation in interventional radiology. Techniques in Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 22(1), 32-34. Web.

Shah, K., & Winokur, R. S. (2019). Climbing the mountain: Value of simulation in interventional radiology training. Techniques in Vascular & Interventional Radiology, 22(1), 1-2. Web.

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NursingBird. "Use of Clinical Simulation in Interventional Radiology Practice." February 14, 2022.