As reported by Michele Chandler of the Redding Record Searchlight, many education and health institutions in the U.S. are turning to medical simulation manikins to help students fulfill mandatory clinical hours and teach a variety of skills and procedures.
In Redding, California, and across the country, facilities wherein medical and nursing students can receive hands-on clinical training are in short supply. To meet this need, schools are increasingly investing in simulators to fill an urgent need for more clinical training hours.
Hospitals and colleges in Shasta County in Redding, for example, use low and high fidelity manikins and other devices to help their healthcare professionals-in-training learn vital skills before they work on real patients.
Shasta College requires nursing students to complete 954 hours of patient care. Students typically complete these hours in three area hospitals and various medical or rehab centers in the county. However, with 200 students enrolled annually in the nursing and nurse aide programs each year, there are not enough real patients or facilities for the students to use.
Fortunately, the California Board of Registered Nursing allows 25% of clinical hours to be completed through simulation-based training. Therefore, the college has committed resources to building a robust sim lab so students can practice and master clinical skills before they interact with real patients.
As Lynnette Crowe, the nursing clinical skills lab coordinator at Shasta College, states: “The value of [simulation] to a training program is that it’s a no-risk situation to the patient’s health. [Students] can learn more from failures than their successes.”
Shasta College currently uses 60 manikins, both high and low fidelity, of various types and ability, representing infant to elderly patients. This gives students the time to practice essential techniques and skills like starting an IV to more advanced skills like managing postpartum bleeding. Students in the Certified Nurse Assistant program even use life-sized manikins to practice how to handle and transfer patients safely.
Redding’s two major hospitals also use patient simulators to hone the skills of their practicing medical professionals. Additionally, Mercy Medical Center Redding acquired the HAL 3201 manikin earlier this month to help them conduct more frequent training of their existing medical staff.
Previously, Mercy Medical Center could only conduct simulation-based training once a year. Now, new nursing staff fresh out of school can be assessed regularly. They can also hone vital skills on the manikin to ensure they provide the best care to their real patients.
As Sandra Rock, the Manager of Education at Mercy Medical Center Redding, says: “You practice on the manikin. It helps you get it correct before you ever [perform] it on a real person.”