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Medical simulator provides realistic training

Medical students, nursing students and practitioners at Mills Memorial Hospital can learn and hone their skills on an interactive training mannequin that can simulate a variety of emergency scenarios, like this one pictured in Prince George.     - CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Medical students, nursing students and practitioners at Mills Memorial Hospital can learn and hone their skills on an interactive training mannequin that can simulate a variety of emergency scenarios, like this one pictured in Prince George.
— image credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A NEW training simulation centre is set to help medical students and nursing students to practise their life saving skills in emergency situations and learn to work together as a team.

Mills Memorial Hospital is one of the places that has a Northern Clinical Simulation Centre and a simulator (mannequin) that interacts by breathing, speaking, making sounds and responding to clinicians working on it as if it’s an injured person.

“It’s incredibly realistic,” said Fraser Bell, vice-president of quality and planning for Northern Health.

“Health care isn’t simple, there are many complexities. We have the ability now with technology to simulate those complexities and have them interact,” he said.

“Where we used to practise CPR on a doll that feels somewhat realistic, you can manage medication, ventilate, do diagnostic procedures, talk to the patient and have them all interacting. It is incredible.”

Several scenarios involving trauma or emergency situations have been developed and medical students and practitioners can practise their critical skills training, which helps them to become  better prepared for the real thing.

In addition to Terrace, simulation centres are at GR Baker Hospital in Quesnel, the UNBC campuses in Quesnel and Prince George, the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in Prince George and Fort St. John will also get a simulation centre in its new hospital, due to open next year.

The facilities come to a total cost of $2.4 million.

A simulator in Prince George is capable of even more technological use but it’s transportable so it will be taken around to the other facilities for medical personnel to practise on it too, said Bell.

“The beauty of these is that it lets us simulate skills we may not see as frequently.

“The more you practise something the better you are at it so it’s the opportunity to simulate things people might not see quite enough to keep skills up plus it’s a way to work as a team even if you’re practising stuff that’s clinical that you’re seeing regularly,” said Bell, adding that much of health care is working as a team and not individually.

In addition to the scenarios and the speaking that the simulator can do itself, a clinician can use a microphone in the simulation room to speak for the simulator and say what a patient might say in a real situation, added Bell.

A partnership between Northern Health, the University of BC’s Northern Medical Program and the School of Nursing at the University of Northern BC made this project possible, said Bell.

 

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