crash test dummies
Things To Do
For free monthly updates, event invitations and exclusive deals, sign-up for our newsletter!
Crash Test Dummies
April, 2010, Page 68
At the Banner Simulation Medical Center, a critical care nurse Devin Welker practices flushing an IV on his patient.
Banner Health’s simulated training features lifelike mannequins and real hospital scenarios. The result might save your life one day.
The patient’s wristband says his name is Sal. You can hear him breathe, his chest rising and falling rhythmically. His pulse is elevated and he has a cough, but the rest of his vital signs suggest he’s stable – for now. The nurses know that at any moment Sal, or any of the other patients in the unit, could go into cardiac arrest, have an asthma attack or go into labor. If this happens, the nursing staff must act without hesitation or mistake.
Sal may die several times a week, but he’s resilient. It’s part of his job as one of the high-fidelity patient mannequins used in the Banner Simulation Medical Center to train new and experienced nurses hired into the Banner Health system. Banner opened the high-tech simulation training facility in October 2009, with the purpose of improving the overall quality of care in its Arizona facilities.
The nearly $13 million, 55,000-square-foot simulation center resides in what was once Banner Mesa Medical Center in Mesa. It is the country’s largest fully functioning simulation hospital. The virtual facility includes an emergency department, intensive care unit, operating rooms, labor and delivery suites, general patient floor and other medical units found in a typical hospital.
Part clinical immersion, part intense medical theater, each unit in the simulation center resembles a different stage on which a new medical drama regularly unfolds. The mannequins play the starring role while the facility’s staff fill in as physicians, lab techs, supervisors and family members. Although the actors and circumstances are fake, the opportunity to save lives is very real.
The center is the brainchild of Dr. Mark Smith, an obstetrician and the current director of the facility, and Carol Cheney, who serves alongside Smith as the regional director for simulation and innovation. Both believe simulation training more rigorously prepares health care professionals. “There’s a big difference between knowing what to do versus actually performing those tasks in high-pressure situations,” Smith says.
Leaving behind the days of practicing injections and IVs on oranges or potatoes, nurses at the Banner Simulation Medical Center practice on mannequins that can cost up to $80,000 apiece and can breathe, cough, sweat, bleed and talk. The mannequins can be programmed to simulate nearly any medical condition, including a heart attack, breech birth, stroke or respiratory failure.
“We want you making your mistakes here,” Smith says. By learning from mistakes in a consequence-free environment, Smith and Cheney say nurses are better prepared and less likely to repeat those errors when encountering the real patient population.
Up to 100,000 hospital patients die every year and $38 billion is lost in the U.S. as a result of medical errors, according to the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit adviser on national health issues. Mistakes include misdiagnoses, equipment failure, hospital-acquired infections, medication errors and mishandled surgeries. These are the exact gaffes the simulators train staff to avoid.
All scenarios are videotaped and each nurse’s performance carefully measured and analyzed. Each nurse must satisfy a strict set of criteria before completing the program. Cheney and her staff use the data collected from every scenario to constantly update the training program and create new exercises.
Although the simulation center does not currently generate revenue, Banner expects to see a return on investment in three years by reducing the occurrence of costly mistakes and improving staff performance and productivity in its Arizona hospitals, Smith says.
Trainees have primarily been nurses so far, but new programs will soon train physicians, physical and occupational therapists, patient transporters, lab techs and all others involved in patient contact.
© 2007 Copyright Phoenix Magazine 15169 N. Scottsdale Road Suite C310 Scottsdale Arizona 85254
Travel & Outdoors
Best of The Valley
Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine
Advertise With Us
Web Site Design