Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last year, it has been an uphill climb to restore the nation’s infrastructure to full working order. Hospitals on the island were especially hard hit as they struggled to deal with an influx of gravely injured patients and dwindling resources. The death toll climbed to staggering levels as people with serious medical conditions, for example, those requiring respiratory aid or dialysis, were left without the power needed to run these machines.
While the nation continues to recover, a university in Mayaguez has recently opened a new state-of-the-art simulation center to train nurses on the island. On March 13th, Antillean Adventist University (AAU) opened the new Health Sciences Simulation Center, the most advanced health science simulation center in Puerto Rico. Gaumard certified the center.
The simulation center has a maternity unit, an emergency room, two operating rooms and a critical care area. Coupled with a supply room, a laundry room, technician’s areas for each room, two administrative offices, and a classroom the new building will provide nursing students with a remarkably well-rounded educational experience.
Among the tools the nursing students will use in the new center is a HAL® S3201 Patient Simulator. HAL’s tetherless design allows him to function continuously during transport so students can train how to diagnose and provide treatment to a patient in the field, transport them to the ER, and eventually to the ICU.
Thus, the students will get a realistic feel for treating a patient during a hectic emergency situation and acquire the necessary expertise to reduce medical errors and improve their skills without harming a real patient.
HAL’s many lifelike features will allow the nursing students to receive hands-on practice with many of the vital lifesaving skills they will need when they encounter a real patient. HAL’s reactive eyes, realistic heart and lung sounds, and palpable pulses will allow them to sharpen their diagnostic skills. They can use real equipment to monitor his vitals, deliver defibrillation, and provide mechanical ventilation.
HAL can also be equipped with a trauma arm and leg to help the nursing students become familiar with how to respond to a life-threatening emergency. The students can practice how to control bleeding and stabilize a patient in critical condition. Mastering these skills will help a new generation of nurses become better prepared to handle almost any emergency situation.
Apart from the simulation exercises, students will also have access to the MediTech platform in its electronic record modules. This will allow students to become familiar with the clinical documentation process. While clinical skills are immensely important, the documentation process is an unavoidable part of the health care process. As such, it is a wise move on AAU’s part to help the nurses gain experience in this overlooked aspect of the profession.
Dr. Obed Jiménez, president of AAU, is optimistic about how the new simulation center will benefit the nursing students. The university’s nursing graduates have some of the highest licensing exam scores in the country, so the addition of the simulation center will only enhance the student’s readiness to meet the needs of patients during Puerto Rico’s post-Maria recovery.
Looking forward, AAU’s simulation center is an important step to ensure Puerto Rico is ready for the next storm. With a new generation of highly trained and skilled nurses on the front lines, lives will be saved, and hope can return to the island.