To emphasize on paying respect to all life, students are required to suture and cloth the mentors at the end of dissection class. Family members are then invited again to attend the memorial services putting the mentors to rest in the coffins, saying farewells and cremations. The memorials are gratefully blessed as they place the remains of the mentors into a “glaze cinerary urn”, with softly chanting echoes of rebirth. The “glaze cinerary urn” is then kept in the Great Giving Hall that symbolizes the up most contributions. Contributions of the mentors are then compiled to reflect the vision of education - "gratitude, respect, love"!
During the autumn of 2000, Tzu Chi University realized that the process of cadaveric presentation was not suitable for practical training of clinical skills, and the pledges of potential donors were overwhelming. Hence, Tzu Chi University researched and developed "rapid deep freeze preservation" and "surgical simulation training".
Starting from Tzu Chi, the surgical simulation training was tried for the first time on May 27, 2002, and by September 15, 2003, the first "operation simulation theater" was completed. Internal training was first given to the students followed by the doctors of other medical facilities of Tzu Chi University. External training was given to the students and doctors of sister universities both from local and foreign professional bodies. The break-through technique of combining culture into professional teaching created uproar from circles of training, education and social bodies.
Moving a step higher in 2008, several functionally connected rooms was constructed around the 8 teaching operation tables. On September 10, 2008, Master Cheng Yen officiated the opening of the newly formed "Medical Simulation Center". It consists of an independent entrance, a reception area, a fully functioning simulation line, independent cleansing units, concealed gas supply piping, surveillance monitors and robotic arms for the operating table. In addition, every operation table is equipped with a large LCD screen, which broadcast the life history of the mentors so as to remind trainees of the mentors' loving kindness and unreserved giving.
On the 19th of October during the same year, Tzu Chi shared their new concept of Cadaveric dissections at the “11th Medical Education Research Convention” held in Tian Jin. Tremendous response was received from the floor. Tzu Chi was honored to be the only presenter who received two rounds of applause out of tens of others presenters. The selfless contribution from the silent mentors touched the hearts of all present.
The Tzu Chi University Medical Simulation Center was offi cially opened on the 10th of September 2008. Coincidentally, on the same day 36 years ago, Tzu Chi fi rst conducted its free clinic to serve the sick and poor, symbolizing the mission of Medical Education-moving along side, striving to treat and care for the patients in the best possible ways. Although, the medical education of Tzu Chi has become the focus for enquiry, visits and even envy both locally and abroad, it never ceased to improve professionally. A glance at the contributions from Silent Mentors to Medical Education symbolizes "life after dead". Because of this, Tzu Chi will endlessly be brave to bear the responsibility of nurturing more and more kind hearted, competent doctors!
By Guo-fang Tseng, Director of Medical Simulation Center, Tzu Chi University
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