Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Surgeon Invents Teaching Technology For Scary Patient Exams

Date:
March 20, 2007
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
Pelvic and prostate exams provoke jitters for medical students. Carla Pugh, an assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University, invented and patented a sensor technology in exam simulators to show students whether they have the right touch in these sensitive exams without a patient ever having to yell "Ouch!" Pugh has also invented teaching technologies for other difficult medical procedures. She was honored for being a trailblazer in a national museum.

Carla Pugh, M.D. remembers her fluttery stomach before she had to do her first pelvic exam as a medical student. In fact, the exam provokes universal anxiety among students.

"It's tricky," said Pugh, 41, an assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "The anatomy is complex, students are afraid they are going to hurt the patient, and there is a lot of embarrassment." The first prostate exam isn't far behind for provoking student jitters.

How do medical students know if they are being gentle enough? How can they figure out where all the important parts are when they can't see them?

Pugh, also an associate director of Northwestern's Center for Advanced Surgical Education, deftly solved those problems. She invented new teaching tools -- exam simulators with sensor technology -- to show students whether they have the right touch in these sensitive exams without a patient ever having to yell "Ouch!" When students place their hands inside the pelvic or prostate simulators, internal sensors measure their pressure and detect if they're in the proper spot.

The pioneering sensor technology for the pelvic simulator is a patented product now being used by 60 nursing and medical schools around the country.

Pugh is one of 13 African-American surgeons in the country recognized for their accomplishments in an exhibit titled "New Frontiers In Academic Surgery" at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Md. The exhibit honors black trailblazers and educators in contemporary medicine.

Another trail Pugh blazed was to help students perform better breast exams. "Breasts all look and feel different, so it's hard to know what's normal," Pugh explained. "Breasts vary as much as facial features." She recently designed a breast with interchangeable inserts, enabling students to feel the many varieties of healthy tissue and worrisome masses.

Inspired by the students and surgical residents she teaches in the operating room, Pugh is turning out still more innovations. One prototype with sensor technology teaches residents and obstetricians how to properly deliver a baby whose shoulder is stuck in the birth canal, a rare and difficult procedure at which they don't get much training.

Another simulator she developed helps students learn how to insert a breathing tube down a patient's airway in an emergency. It's a tricky procedure and "a lot of things can go wrong," she said.

One of only an estimated 386 black women surgeons in the country, Pugh decided to become a doctor when she was five years old. "My uncles told me stories about my great-grandmother who was a midwife and a veterinarian. They talked about her with such high regard. They said I had her eyes," Pugh recalled. As child, she thought her great-grandmother was a physician. "I decided I'm going to be an awesome physician," she said.

But it wasn't an easy path. The child of single mother, Pugh struggled to cobble together loans and financial aid to fund her undergraduate and later her medical degree at Howard University College of Medicine. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.

"Other kids at college are well fed and all they have to worry about is studying. I worried how will I pay my bills, will the lights go out, is the check going to bounce?" she said.

Now she talks to and encourages black students to go into medicine. She tells them what she has learned: "You can accomplish anything."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "Surgeon Invents Teaching Technology For Scary Patient Exams." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319175930.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2007, March 20). Surgeon Invents Teaching Technology For Scary Patient Exams. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319175930.htm
Northwestern University. "Surgeon Invents Teaching Technology For Scary Patient Exams." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070319175930.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins