Though many activities came to a standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic, most education programs moved forward in the online environment. While this move was successful for traditional students, others, such as nuclear medicine technologist students, still needed to complete clinical training onsite. Nuclear Medicine Technologist programs reached out to the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) and voiced concerns regarding the lack of student access to healthcare sites. Due to pandemic-related closures, graduating seniors did not have access to the clinical procedures they needed to meet the minimum requirements to graduate and sit for board exams. When SNMMI reached out to Siemens Healthineers to communicate the students' predicament, the molecular imaging (MI) team at Siemens Healthineers came up with a solution.
Siemens Healthineers worked to modify its nuclear medicine clinical simulators so they could be used by students for training and final evaluation. The team of James Williams, PhD, Head of Siemens Healthineers, Molecular Imaging; Karin Karl, Head of Global Education and Applications Training; and Ernest "Rocky" Humphreys, Global Application Services Manager for Positron Emission Tomography (PET), spearheaded the project that would allow students to complete their clinical training virtually during the pandemic.
The Siemens Healthineers molecular imaging cloud-based simulators are used primarily for internal training, remote customer training, and virtual demonstrations for prospective customers. To be used by the students for training and final evaluation, Siemens Healthineers training and education staff modified the simulator program to fit the specific training needs of the students, and the staff were present during each of the training and evaluation sessions.
"It was an honor to be recognized by SNMMI with this award," said Humphreys. "I was gratified that they took the time to show their appreciation for myself and for Siemens Healthineers and the help we offered."
Global Application Services Manager for Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
The team was recognized during a plenary session at the virtual 2020 SNMMI Annual Meeting on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Because they explored and developed options for clinical simulators for students falling short of clinical hours due to COVID-19, the team was honored for their extraordinary support, leadership, and dynamic interaction with the SNMMI Technologist students.
The simulator solution was quickly implemented and available almost immediately for students finishing up the current semester. But SNMMI anticipated that students from as many as 25 programs around the country, whose clinical facilities were at varying degrees of closure, would also need assistance with virtual clinical training in subsequent semesters. In addition to the graduating students that have completed their nuclear medicine technologist assessments using Siemens Healthineers simulators, the units continue to be used to provide remote training and ongoing education to customers as the pandemic continues.