Patient simulator gives hands-on experience to clinical staff

Bruce's surprise visits on pediatric units are helping to improve clinical care throughout N.C. Children’s Hospital.Article submitted by Ashley Kellish, CNES

N.C. Children’s Hospital now has an exciting and innovative way to enhance emergency response training for clinical staff. The new Pediatric Simulation Committee, formed through the help of grant support and a multidisciplinary effort, is utlizing a patient simulator model to help improve clinical care throughout the hospital.

Healthcare simulation is one of the most innovative and realistic approaches to training healthcare providers. Simulation allows staff to train together with their interdisciplinary teams in their typical work environment.

Since July, the Pediatric Simulation Committee, comprised of nurses, doctors, residents, education specialists and respiratory therapists, has traveled throughout the Children's Hospital with Bruce, a pediatric training manikin, or simulator.

Bruce, who is about the size of a 5-year-old boy, is able to simulate reactions that a real child might experience in a medical emergency. He breathes and has a heartbeat and a pulse. Staff is able to insert a variety of tubes and intravenous access devices to help treat Bruce, just as they can for a real child. 

Hospital staff uses Bruce for on-the-job training to enhance emergency response systems, teamwork, communication and other healthcare oriented skills. The scenarios presented through Bruce incorporate both basic life-saving situations and complex cases requiring team work and critical thinking.  

The Pediatric Simulation Committee uses Bruce to offer surprise training opportunities on units. Staff appreciates the chance to work as a team to care for him just as they would a real patient. A major benefit to this hands-on learning is that the simulator allows for potential mistakes to be made in a safe environment.

After each scenario, the participating unit debriefs with clinical leaders from the committee, and the team discusses key learning points from the scenario and strategies for improved responses in the future.

Bruce will continue to travel to all areas of the hospital that care for children. Simulation training is making a difference in staff education and contributing to improved patient care at N.C. Children’s Hospital.

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