Published: August 1, 2023

Pearls from Your Peers: SIM Tank

Learn what you can expect from SIM Tank at the upcoming #OTOMTG23.

Pfyp Kavanaugh Detwiller Mann

What is SIM Tank?
Dr. Mann:
 SIM Tank is a competition held during the AAO-HNSF 2023 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience for those who are innovating in the space of medical simulation or using simulation in the field of otolaryngology to showcase their recent projects in a way that is fun. The main event is three finalists competing in front of a panel of judges to try to “sell” their product/idea as the best of the year. Afterward, there is a Simulation Showcase and Reception where the other entries have the opportunity to display their simulation projects. This is a great time for collaborating and showing attendees what they have been working on in simulation.

Who should attend SIM Tank? What can an attendee expect? 
Dr. Detwiller:
Everyone should attend! It would be particularly engaging to those with an interest in simulation, education, or even just curiosity in seeing the cutting-edge work and ingenuity of their colleagues. There will be a presentation of the top three simulations, awards, as well as a simulation reception that showcases all of the submissions. Attendees can expect to be impressed by the creativity and thoughtful design of their colleagues and hopefully take away ideas to use in their practices or to create simulations of their own.

What kind of simulation models have been presented at SIM Tank? 
Dr. Detwiller:
 A wide variety of projects have been presented on surgical simulations for pediatric airway reconstruction and thyroplasty to a novel course on residency preparation for fourth-year medical students. The level of technology used is equally varied from 3D printers and complex computer-based simulations to more basic materials such as a dishwasher hose and PVC piping.

Dr. Mann:  There has been a range—anything from new physical simulators incorporating technology like 3D printing or virtual reality to the use of simulation-based curriculum in the setting of quality improvement.

What have you found to be the most valuable part of attending the SIM Tank? 
Dr. Detwiller: I
am consistently impressed with the creativity of the contestants and the amazing quality of work produced. It's so fun to see what projects people are working on, and it gives me a lot of pride in our specialty. There have certainly been ideas that I've taken back to our residency program.

Dr. Mann: As an educator myself, the most valuable thing is seeing what everyone else is innovating. It helps me get new ideas, find out who potential collaborators are, and share excitement in the simulation space.

What do you see as advantages to learning through simulation? 
Dr. Detwiller: 
Simulation, especially with an experienced preceptor, helps learners take their knowledge to the next level. Reading or observing techniques is a great way to learn, however there is a significant advantage to getting hands-on practice.

Dr. Mann: Simulation has several advantages. First, it allows inexperienced learners to gain real experience—physical and tactile—without putting patients at risk. Beyond that, it allows any learner to gain experience in things that they may not encounter routinely or during training—events that are rare or a disease or surgery that is unusual.

What other simulation events are planned for the Annual Meeting? 
Dr. Detwiller: 
There are many opportunities to engage with simulation at the meeting, and I encourage everyone to check them out. There is a great workshop opportunity, Worst-Case Scenarios Managing OTO Emergencies in Practice, which runs for an afternoon, as well as many shorter sessions to choose from including practicing nasal osteotomies and trauma reconstruction on 3D-printed models, implicit bias, and a master class in frontal sinusotomy also using 3D-printed models. These are wonderful opportunities for both early-career and experienced surgeons to get hands-on training.

What would you say to someone considering attending who does not have experience with simulation education? 
Dr. Mann:
I would say that SIM Tank is a lot of fun and no experience is required. Seeing the different innovations is interesting and can be valuable even if you are not directly involved in that type of work.

Dr. Detwiller: I would highly encourage everyone to check out at least one of the simulation activities at the Annual Meeting. SIM Tank is an easy way to get a broad overview of the amazing breadth of possibilities in simulation and also provide support to our innovative colleagues.

Learn more about all the Simulation activities that will be held during the 2023 Annual Meeting.