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Training on the go

By Staff | Aug 23, 2013

Chris Bieri/PCT Nurses from the Heart of America Medical Center work on a high tech mannequin during a training session in a SIM-ND vehicle.

For years, smaller critical access hospitals in North Dakota would need to send their staff to one of the state’s four biggest cities for training.

Thanks to SIM-ND (Simulation in Motion-North Dakota), that’s no longer the case.

The SIM-ND truck visited Rugby on Aug. 20, delivering a high-tech training regimen to doctors, nurses and EMS personnel at Heart of America Medical Center.

Just over a year ago, University of North Dakota received a $4.98 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to provide four huge simulation trucks to go to rural areas of the state and provide training.

The trucks are state-of-the-art, with an emergency room simulation in the front third of the vehicle, an ambulance simulation in the back third of the vehicle and a control center in the middle.

Chris Bieri/PCT There are four SIM-ND vehicles in ND?that bring training to rural areas. The front third of the vehicle is an emergency room and the back third is an ambulance with a control room in the middle.

Both training areas use mannequins so high-tech, that they’re really more like humans.

“We don’t call them mannequins, we call them patients,” said SIM-ND coordinator Tamera Harvey. “You can do whatever you’d do to your normal patients. You want to know their records, you have to ask them. You want to know their history, you have to ask them. You want to start an IV, they bleed. You have to breathe for them.”

The staff at the hospital said the SIM-ND settings are much more realistic than past training sessions they’ve been involved with.

“It comes closer than the mannequins we have worked on,” said nurse Darlene Tiffany. “They don’t breathe. They don’t talk. This one does.”

The “patients” have pulses and talk, thanks to a technician in the control center.

Chris Bieri/PCT There are four SIM-ND vehicles in ND?that bring training to rural areas. The front third of the vehicle is an emergency room and the back third is an ambulance with a control room in the middle.

That allows the nurses and EMS personnel to respond instead of being told what the scenario is in the training session.

“In most scenarios, you’re told how they’ll respond,” said nurse Cathy Schwab. ” It’s more of a response to the patient (in this case).”

The key to the program, and the vision of the Helmsley Foundation, was to bring the training to rural areas, where training generally means taking a trip to a bigger city.

“The key to this whole SIM-MD is that we’re bringing the education out,” Harvey said. “If we sent 25 people from Rugby in one day to Grand Forks for training, who’s going to be here to work? It’s a different way of learning. You actually have to do it. We stress, you can’t just say you’re giving medication, you have to draw it up and give it. They want us to hit all of our critical access hospitals and all of the EMS. So today, in between doing the nurses’ (training), we did the EMS.”

Many of the nurses travel and work overnight shifts, so taking a day off to train can be difficult.

“With our shifts, we can’t always go to a bigger town,” Schwab said. “If they can come to us, that’s great.”

And Harvey said everyone who took part in the scenarios, which are developed on the UND campus, gets credit for a normal training pod.

“The nice thing about this, they all get a CEU (Continuing Education Units),” Harvey said. “They do a scenario, they get a CEU.”

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