Statement of the Ukrainian-Swiss project “Medical Education Development” on the partial transfer of equipment from the Rivne Medical Academy

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The Ukrainian-Swiss project “Medical Education Development” has decided to partially transfer equipment from the Simulation Center (skill lab “Simulation Center SiRiMeds”) of the Rivne Medical Academy (RMA) to other partner medical education institutions cooperating with the project.

The project has made this decision in response to non-transparent appointments at the RMA and communication from the RMA management.

“We were surprised that at the beginning of russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine’s sovereign territory, the academy’s leadership decided to appoint another specialist as the head of the Simulation Center, not Anna Krynychna, who facilitated its launching. We did not receive official notification about the new appointment of the head of the Centre and learned about it accidentally. However, this is not the main reason for our decision.

In our opinion, Oksana Kopanytsia, appointed as Temporary Acting Head of Simulation Center, does not have the appropriate competencies to manage the center. Most people who do not specialize in the training of future doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners mistakenly believe that the success of students’ skills depends on expensive manikins. But this is not the case. The most essential are the skills of teachers, who invest a lot of resources in their proficiency”, says Tetiana Stepurko, head of the project office of the Ukrainian-Swiss project “Medical Education Development”.

After a detailed study of the CV and a conversation with the new head of the Simcenter, the project concluded that newly appointed head of the Centre is at the beginning of her professional development in simulation approaches in medical education. And the complex equipment that was transferred to the RMA by the project will not be fully used and will not serve the primary purpose of the future nurses` training.

The project has completed the preparatory phase — training for educators and supply of the equipment. So now the key stage — developing scenarios and checklists for learning — is taking place. These scenarios and simulation need to be integrated into curriculum. Due to the loss of competent specialists, the project predicts that the new leadership of the RMA will not cope with such a complex step.

That is why part of the equipment will be directed to those educators-practitioners who demonstrate more developed competencies, more integrated and sustainable work results.

The project emphasizes that it does not fully interrupt the partnership with the RMA and will be happy to help Dr. Kopanytsia with obtaining educational skills and involvement in the project.

The main goal of the project is NOT to purchase equipment for medical institutions, but to improve the quality of medical education through the integration of simulation teaching methods into curricula focused on student needs and other activities (initiated and conducted by the project), such as: 

  • training for all teachers and administration representatives of educational institutions which are involved in Simulation Centers, 
  • course on teaching skills, 
  • training on feedback provision, 
  • strategic sessions for representatives of institution administrators, 
  • supporting distance learning with both expertise and equipment, 
  • strengthening the community through information exchange, 
  • lauching student spaces, and we also have many other areas of work.

The project admits that the equipment, noted above, is used exclusively for the training of future nurses, who will later work either in pairs with family doctors or independently.

“At the beginning of the project, we focused on training primary care physicians, and nurses in peacetime. That is why the purchased mannikins by the project are not suitable for military training. Currently, as a project, we do not train the military, because other equipment is needed to practice their skills — models of legs and arms”, — says Tetiana Stepurko.

Even though the project does not specialize in military medicine and has never conducted military training. The project beneficiary, the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine has reallocated part of this year’s budget to purchase tourniquets, bandages and medicines for those who need them most.

The Ukrainian-Swiss project “Medical Education Development” has been operating in Ukraine since 2018. During this time it has invested UAH 15 million in six Simulation Centers of medical educational institutions in Lviv, Zhytomyr, Kharkiv, Chernivtsi, Ternopil and Rivne. We have conducted more than hundreds of training sessions for teachers and administrators of Simulation Centers and facilitated the international exchange of simulation skills in medical education.