Students Gain Hands-On Experience Using Robotic Technology at Springhill

March 14, 2017

bestgroupphoto.jpgDuring the inaugural BEST Day At Springhill Medical Center event March 10, 100 students were able to actually use the robotic technology that is used to heal patients at the hospital.

BEST Robotics (Boosting Engineering, Science & Technology) partnered with SMC to host the first-of-its-kind robotics event where the students representing 50 Gulf Coast schools came together for the day to experience the high tech world of medicine!!

The idea for the event is the brain-child of Springhill Medical Center’s robotics surgery coordinator Jennifer Shell, RN, BSN.  Springhill will offer students hands-on activities at 12 stations with technology such as the daVinci surgical robot and the Mako Robotic-Arm assisted technology, which are both used at Springhill Medical Center for surgical procedures.

    “We wanted to open our doors for a unique educational experience that gives students an inside look at the technology used at our hospital, and also provides them with an opportunity to use it!” said Shell. “Our partnership with BEST made it so easy to organize an event for a network of students the organization had already identified as having an interest in this type of technology.”

The students visited stations to learn about: the heart/lung bypass machine used in open heart surgery, Storz flexible endoscopes, Xenex robotic room sterilization, SMC’s Biomed Department and IV Services Department, Boston Scientific gastrointestinal stents, Grand Bay Volunteer Fire Department’s fire truck, Mobile County EMS, and Stryker Orthopedic’s Mako Robotic-Arm assisted technology!

Guest speakers, included Dr. Matt Barber from Alabama Orthopaedic Clinic and Dr. Eldon Scott from Surgeons of Mobile, who shared how robots have changed the world of medicine during a lunchtime presentation.  

Sponsors: Springhill Medical Center; BEST; Intuitive Surgical; Xenex; Karl Storz — Endoskope; Mobile County EMS; Boston Scientific; and Stryker Orthopeadic.

BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology):
•    BEST is a volunteer-based national program with 50 hubs (local competitions) across the nation.
•    Three hubs participated:  Emerald Coast BEST (serving the panhandle of Florida), River BEST (serving Thomasville and the surrounding counties), Jubilee BEST (serving the gulf coast of Alabama and Mississippi).
•    BEST is FREE to all schools that participate.  The program is funded by local business and community partners investing in their future workforce.
•    Students must design, fabricate and build a robot out of “raw” materials such as lumber, aluminum, PVC, steel, acrylic, nuts, bolts and more.
•    Students must manufacture a robot to accomplish specific tasks and deliver the robot to market, thus mimicking industry.  This teaches the children real-world application.
•    BEST Day at Springhill will provide the students an opportunity to see real-world robots.  They are eager to observe how they function (movement, end-effexor, controller, programming, etc.) and will apply these ideas to their robots this fall for the upcoming BEST game.
•    BEST is more than building a robot, it is a rigorous program that teaches the skill sets to be successful in the students’ future careers.

What the attendees said about the event:

Friday was amazing and was worth getting up early for. It would be nice to have someone that not only knew how their robot worked, but also knew about what made it work (motors, program, etc.)

Thank you for arranging what is probably the BEST field trip I have ever experienced!!!!!   I had such a good time and so did the students from Thomasville!

The improvements made to these robots and companies over the next year.

New Da Vinci (XII) soon. I know you do not make them, but it would be cool to see new ones when they come out.

I learned a lot about the machines and operating tools. I wonder if we use any of these tools/machines in the Veterinary Field?

Springhill Medical Center has agreed to hold the event again next year based on post-event survey results and multiple requests.  We hope to find out the answers to some of these questions raised by this year's group of students!

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