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Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 06:00 AM

Hi-tech ‘dummy’ to help teach nursing skills

The latest training tool at Marshall Medical Centers is no dummy.

He has a pulse, tears, blinks his eyes, urinates, bleeds and has seizures, but he is not human. The SimMan 3G is an advanced patient simulator that displays neurological symptoms as well as physical ailments.

“It’s going to be excellent for teaching,” said Tami Howard, RN, director of staff development and education at Marshall South. “Simulation is the wave of the future.”

The high-tech and high dollar patient simulators at both hospitals were made possible thanks to a $188,500 grant secured by Dr. Amy Langley, director of Health Sciences at Snead State Community College. Dr. Langley said the effort started several years ago after a conversation with Ruth Bischoff, nursing director at South, about a simulation lab that could be used by nursing students as well as for professional development training.

“That opened the window to have the most current simulator for training,” she said.

The partnership between the hospitals and Snead’s nursing school ultimately will benefit patients.

“Better prepared nurses at the hospital spills over into quality patient care,” Dr. Langley said. “When nurses demonstrate really good patient care, students will mimic that.”

Howard said using a simulator enables instructors to teach in a realistic hospital setting.

“This will allow students to utilize critical thinking in a controlled setting,” she said. “They can make mistakes and learn from them in a simulated setting instead of in an actual patient care environment. A wrong decision can change a patient’s condition.”

Lisa Bearden, RN and director of education at Marshall North, said the simulator will make a big difference in her classes because of numerous features, such as audible lung and bowel sounds and a port in his arm where nurses can give medication.

“He is awesome,” she said. “It’s a big advantage over what we had.”

Marshall North Administrator Cheryl Hays agreed.

“He’s certainly the best simulator I’ve ever been exposed to,” she said, joking that he should be since he cost more than her first house.

Howard and Bearden will use the simulator while conducting training for new hires and to fulfill continuing education requirements for staff. Hospital staff will learn to use the manikin – the term for a jointed model of the human body used in anatomy - during a two-day class later this month.

Bearden was excited about SimMan 3G’s capabilities, including realistic coughing and vomiting sounds, as well as saying “yes” and “no.”

“He’s phenomenal,” she said.

Bischoff is happy to see the idea of a simulation lab in both hospitals finally become a reality.

“This is an interactive manikin that will allow us to replicate patient scenarios and provide healthcare providers the opportunity to troubleshoot and provide appropriate intervention based on what is assessed and observed,” she said. “We have been talking about the possibility of partnering with Snead to obtain this piece of equipment for several years, and it has finally materialized.”

According to the website for the Laerdal company, which manufactures of simulators for medical use, SimMan 3G uses innovative technology to increase realism and create more effective simulation. Some of the many features of SimMan 3G include:

·      CPR performance can be measured and real-time feedback provided on compression rate, depth, release and hands-off time.

·      Seizures and convulsions can be created

·      Wound models can be connected to an internal blood reservoir which will bleed both from arterial and venous vessels.

·      SimMan 3G will react appropriately to treatment.

·      The eye secretions feature can simulate responsive reactions to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.

·      The drug recognition system registers the amount, speed and type of drug automatically and applies the appropriate physiological responses

·      Pupillary responses can simulate a wide range of neurological symptoms.
Responses include to light, blinking (at slow, normal and fast rates) winking as well as open, partially open and closed reactions.

·      Students can perform a needle thoracentesis - a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lungs and the chest wall - and insert a chest drain.

·      The manikin simulates spontaneous breathing with chest rising and falling.

·      Students can insert a chest tube.

·      The manikin simulates bodily secretions.

·      The manikin incorporates wireless technology.