April 13, 2011

The Patient Simulation Center at CAMC continues to use the latest technology available to help health care professionals learn about real-life situations that could occur with patients. There are currently two new simulators being used in the center.

Nurse anesthesia students use CAMC's newest mannequin, Sim-Man 3G, to practice the proper procedures for taking care of surgery patients. Learners can monitor the actual human heart, lung and abdominal sounds a patient would experience in different scenarios.

"Not only does it respond back to us with voice commands and voice interaction, but the pupils respond, the eyes blink, and you can watch the chest rise and fall," said Chris Wheeler, RN, SRNA, third-year anesthesia student. "It actually recognizes the medications that we give it - the dosage and the amount, and will respond accordingly. We can see that on the monitor so we know immediately if we've given the right drug and the right amount based on the patient's response."

Sim-Man 3G allows students to become comfortable with differing patient scenarios before they actually experience them with a human patient.

"I think it's important for students to practice skills before they actually take care of patients for safety reasons and to build their confidence level," said Kathy Newcome, DMP, instructor at the CAMC School of Anesthesia. "When they're first starting and they're learning anesthesia, we come here and practice different procedures. Then when they get more advanced, they come back again, and we go through scenarios with Sim Man where they can assess him like they would a real patient."

A laptop computer runs the mannequin, and an air canister is housed within his leg, making him very mobile. He can be moved around to different rooms in the simulation center since he is not tethered to hoses or other equipment.

The simulation center is housed on 5 East at CAMC General Hospital and has grown to include many types of high-tech equipment.

Among the disciplines and professions who train in the center are medical students and residents, physicians and faculty, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and nurses.

"Other universities and teaching hospitals don't have their simulation centers in the hospital setting," said Barbara McKee, RN, education specialist in the simulation center. "CAMC is fortunate to have this simulation center housed on a unit at General Hospital."

Another new simulator available in the Patient Simulation Center is called VIST. It allows training on endovascular surgery and activities, as well as angiographies. Students can learn how to deploy stents, handle equipment and practice critical thinking skills in problematic situations.

"We're one of the few hospitals in the region to have a simulator, and we're the only health system in the state to have a vascular surgery fellowship," said John Campbell, MD." So having both of those together at CAMC is a huge benefit to our patients. It keeps our fellows on the cutting edge, and does improve patient safety."

Campbell adds that simulators have come a long way since they began use as teaching tools, and are amazing in their realism when compared to actual cases.

The CAMC Foundation was instrumental in the purchase of both of these cutting edge technologies. The simulation center is beginning its seventh year and, in 2010, conducted more than 450 unique programs.

Watch this video to see the simulators in action:

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