Photo & Video Credit: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS
On Tuesday, July 16, Miami Dade College (MDC) unveiled their new Center for Learning, Innovation, and Simulation that will serve 1700 students at MDC’s Medical Campus. Plans for the simulation center began in 2010. It is designed to look like a real hospital and includes an operating room, examination tables, and medicine dispensers.
The five-story, $56 million building will house several Gaumard simulators that will portray the patients that fill the sim center’s 15 simulation rooms. Among them are two Victoria high-fidelity maternal patient simulators. The simulators have a variety of lifelike physical features, can present many high-risk medical conditions, and they respond to treatment as a real patient would.
These advanced simulators ensure healthcare students have the opportunity to learn hands-on and gain the experience needed to treat real patients. As they practice with simulators, the students develop muscle memory and improve their performance until it becomes second nature.
Moreover, since the instructor can adjust the simulator’s vital signs and the conditions/complications they present, students get the chance to experience dealing with cases that they would not normally encounter during clinical hours. As nurse Mary Worsley points out: “You don’t always get to see a labor [during clinical hours]. This way, when they go in, it’s not a big surprise.”
Apart from labor and delivery scenarios, the MDC simulation center is also equipped to provide training in pre-hospital care and pediatric patient communication skills.
During the opening ceremony, members of MDC’s EMS program resuscitated the high-fidelity simulator HAL 3201 in a simulated ambulance. A scenario like this is a common event EMS professionals will encounter during their career. By practicing pre-hospital emergency medicine skills in a realistic environment, students will prepare to handle the stress inherent to these events and develop the knowledge to provide effective care.
Moreover, Pediatric HAL’s lifelike facial expressions and speech will be used to develop the students’ communication skills. Poor communication skills are linked to 80% of serious medical errors, while good communication skills are linked to better patient outcomes, reduced complaints, and higher morale/job satisfaction.
Considering these benefits, MDC’s simulation center can truly be called innovative because it invests in a holistic approach to a healthcare curriculum. By effectively communicating with patients, especially pediatric patients, healthcare professionals can better form a diagnosis and make sure patients understand and adhere to treatment.
Additionally, the simulation rooms are equipped with cameras that record the training scenarios. The students and instructors can then playback the scenario and debrief. These debriefing sessions help instructors identify areas of weakness and further practice.
One of the goals of MDC’s new simulation center is to help address a growing demand for skilled healthcare professionals. As older nurses prepare to retire in the next few years, this demand will only exacerbate. Moreover, a growing shortage of clinical training sites is making it increasingly more difficult for healthcare students to complete the clinical hours vital to their education.
The simulation center will help create a new generation of well-trained healthcare professionals that will provide quality care for the Miami-Dade community. In fact, Medical Campus President Bryan Stewart, Ph.D., is eager to form a training partnership with hospitals and other healthcare systems in the community.