Photo & Video Credit: Peter Thomson, La Crosse Tribune
There have been 3500 births in the Integrated Center for Education (ICE House) at Gundersen Health System’s main campus in La Crosse, Wisconsin. However, these births were all performed by advanced robotic patient simulators. These simulators are used by the ICE House team to practice clinical and teamwork skills before they treat a real patient.
As reported by the La Crosse Tribune, the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) donated Super Tory, the world’s most advanced newborn simulator, to the ICE House’s simulation lab. She replaces a lower fidelity manikin which did not look realistic or have as many lifelike features as Super Tory.
ICE House manager Sheila Chapel asserts that realism is key to effectively teaching students. According to the article, Super Tory’s lifelike features immerse the students in the scenario. As they treat her ailments, students show the same care and urgency they would with a real patient.
Super Tory allows students to practice a wide variety of procedures and treatments like intubation, IV placement, physical and neurological assessments, resuscitation, and other common techniques used during emergency neonatal care.
“If they make a mistake, they can just start over. This is the place to make a mistake and learn from it,” says Chapel.
As the students engage in various simulated scenarios, they practice and hone clinical skills through hands-on practice. Since there is no risk of harming a real patient, students build confidence and improve clinical performance through repeated practice and feedback from educators.
Furthermore, Super Tory’s long battery life and wireless controls allow the sim lab to expand their training outside of the hospital setting and across multiple medical fields. As such, Super Tory is used to train nurses and paramedics on GundersenAIR, the hospital’s emergency medical helicopter.
Students can board the helicopter, go aloft, and practice procedures under realistic conditions. Likewise, Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance crews are using the portable simulator to practice providing care while riding in an ambulance.
Performing simulations in moving vehicles and helicopters is a far cry from where ICE House started. When the simulation lab began six years ago, only basic surgical procedures were practiced. With the introduction simulators like Super Tory, the focus of the program has expanded.
Last year alone the simulation lab hosted educational events and training for more than 8,500 people. With Super Tory on their roster, Gundersen offered pediatric training sessions with certification courses in Neonatal Resuscitation and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.