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Warming Up to Frozen Specimens

A frozen section simulation workshop has been developed

September 11, 2019

By Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science staff


Mayo Clinic surgical pathology fellows in Rochester have a new tool to better understand and evaluate frozen specimens with the development of a frozen section simulation workshop at the Simulation Center in Rochester.

The training allows fellows to work on frozen sections more efficiently by minimizing the stressors that can be present in a real-world setting. The training is the brainchild of Karen Fritchie, M.D., Anatomic Pathology; Carrie Bowler, M.S., Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Education; and Erica Reed, M.S., Anatomic Pathology.

"Our goal was to create a safe learning environment for trainees to learn the skills of how to approach the specimen, the prioritization of specimens, and the communication needed in order to effectively and efficiently move specimens forward for optimal patient care," Dr. Fritchie says.

The Simulation Center, which is located in the Stabile Building in Rochester, is traditionally used for surgical procedures and teaching students how to run a code.

Trainees sometimes can require weeks or months before they become comfortable working in the lab, managing complex diagnoses, learning surgical procedures, and communicating with the team, Dr. Fritchie says. The simulation pilot will make the fellows more comfortable in the lab, decrease the time it takes for them to adjust to the practice, and improve overall patient care.

Currently, fellows rotate through 30-minute simulations followed by 30 minutes of sharing what they learned with staff before their first rotation at the frozen section laboratory.

A version of this story originally appeared on the Mayo News Center, an internal information hub for Mayo Clinic employees.