Training doctors and nurses using real-world simulations

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NCH showed off the new state-of-the-art facility on Tuesday. The simulation gives a mockup of everything from a typical hospital room to the ER. (Credit: WINK News)

A multi-disciplinary simulation, the first of its kind in a hospital between Miami and Tampa, is training doctors and nurses of the future – and it’s here in Southwest Florida.

NCH showed off the new state-of-the-art facility on Tuesday. The simulation gives a mockup of everything from a typical hospital room to the ER.

When Dr. Douglas Harrington, medical director of the Judith & Marvin Herb Family Simulation Center, was a resident at NCH, the jump from medical books to patients’ bedsides was more of a leap.

“To do a procedure, I watched someone do it on a patient. The next time, I got to help. By the third time, I was doing it by myself,” he said.

It’s something some medical students still struggle with.

“Oftentimes, people are nervous, anxious. They may know it here – but it may not have gotten here.”

Now, that anxiety may be a thing of the past.

“We’re really kind of the first here to do a true multidisciplinary innovative technology sim center,” said Hope Goodwin, RN and operations manager at the Judith & Marvin Herb Family Simulation Center.

The center allows students and professionals to get realistic hands-on practice with mannequins who can cough, cry, and breathe.

“It’s super exciting. And we’ve gotten to play with some of our mannequins here and it’s incredible all of the features you can do with it,” Goodwin said.

So whether skills need development or just practice to stay sharp, “We could bring those students here and say tell us the three things that make you the most nervous. Is it starting the IV? Is it doing CPR? And actually build a curriculum around the student’s level to get them comfortable when the event happens in the hospital, they’re ready to go.”

A study published by the National Institutes of Health finds that after practicing with simulations, one emergency department’s detection of heart arrhythmia increased from 5% to 55%. Another health care system went from a 37% survival rate for cardiac arrest patients, up to 42%.

“The beginner practices until they get it right; a professional practices until they don’t make a mistake,” Harrington said.

He said the goal is to first train NCH health care professionals and then use the center to help the wider community, including school nurses, firefighters, and even businesses.

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