Elk Regional Nurses Use Cutting-Edge Technology

He talks. He breathes. When he’s in pain, he moans. He burps, hiccups, urinates, and bleeds. His eyes tell a story.

But he’s not a real person.

Sim Man, a computerized training mannequin used as a training tool for high-risk situations, is Elk Regional’s most technologically advanced patient. He was provided to the Health Center by its professional liability insurance carrier, CHART, which represents 48 hospitals in Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia. Elk Regional is one of 16 hospitals that began simulator training this year; 15 others began simulator training in 2011.

“Research has shown that the most effective adult learning method involves feedback, repetition, and hands-on experience,” said Amy Reed, RN, of the Health Center’s Organizational Development Department. “The simulation training provided by Sim Man offers a controlled environment in which our nurses can develop the assessment and decision-making skills they will need when working with a high-risk patient.”

Sim Man teaches Elk Regional’s clinical staff members the finer points of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They can learn about electrocardiograms and blood pressures. He helps them fine-tune their IV insertion technique and learn the best ways to insert chest tubes and catheters. He teaches them how to monitor breath and heart sounds.

But that’s not all. Sim Man has several different advanced rapid assessment learning modules and scenarios. Elk Regional’s nurses have already trained on four of them – myocardial infarction, or heart attack; anaphylactic reaction following blood transfusion; sepsis; and different scenarios focusing on hypoglycemia.

He can also teach them about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD; respiratory crisis; diabetic crisis; cardiopulmonary arrest; a cerebrovascular accident; post-op pulmonary embolisms; post-op hemorrhage; and caring for seizure patients.

“Sim Man is a very effective interactive training tool,” said Amanda Swanson, MSN, RN, of the Health Center’s Organizational Development Department. “His vocal capabilities allow our clinical staff members to interview him, and his vital signs can be used with our bedside monitoring equipment. That means our clinical staff members have the opportunity to practice interpreting their observations in critical-care situations they may not encounter every day.”

Ms. Reed, Miss Swanson, Sally Condon, RN, and Michelle Eckert, RN, recently spent two days training with CHART on the use of Sim Man. The group also worked independently for several hours to gain the proficiency needed to instruct others in the use of Sim Man.

Elk Regional will be using Sim Man to educate newly hired nurses, perform yearly competency reviews, and certification renewals for advanced cardiac life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Elk Regional’s physicians can also use Sim Man to practice chest tube insertion, intubation, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

To learn more about CHART, a medical malpractice insurance company and certified Patient Safety Organization, visit them online here. For more information about Laerdal, the company that makes Sim Man, click here.

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