Fulfilling a promise to our community

We know “practice is the best of all instructors” and the William G. Smith Simulation Center provides a welcoming and innovative practice environment. Since its debut in January 2016, the center has provided students studying to be a nurse, emergency medical technician or paramedic, medical assistant, medical lab technician, radiology technician, or dental hygienist appropriate practice scenarios to hone their particular skill. The center also provides challenging opportunities for the more seasoned professional including physicians or nurses wanting to brush up on techniques or learn new skills.

Both partners in this endeavor, Iowa Central Community College and Trinity Regional Medical Center agree it has been a win-win opportunity.

“We are very grateful to the donors who helped us complete this project, said Mike Dewerff, president and chief executive officer of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge. “This remarkable teaching tool is assisting in training our region’s health care providers – from physicians and nurses to first responders and volunteers – the center can provide the training needed to potentially save our own life.”

Dewerff went on to say “The center is also very useful in recruiting new physicians as well as other health care providers. It is unique for a hospital our size to have a state of the art simulation center available.”

In all, the simulation center has provided training for over 700 students. Nursing students from Iowa Central Community College make up the majority of participants. The center provides an environment that duplicates the urgency of real life medicine without the life and death consequences. The center also provides video recording for classroom debriefing and discussion. More importantly, it provides a controlled environment to build confidence and experience.

Examples of how the Simulation Center has been used since opening in January of 2016 include:

• Paramedics practiced scenarios which included medical, trauma, advanced cardiac life support, prehospital trauma life support and skills needed to pass the National Registry.

• Physicians participated in emergency airway training including surgical tracheostomy, surgical cricothyrotomy, interosseous infusion and chest tube training.

• A local long term care facility trained 25 of their staff in central line care for PICCs and infusaports.

• A local clinic trained staff members on urinary catheterizations utilizing sterile technique. The simulation manikins were filled with simulated urine to increase fidelity during this training session.

• Nurses were trained on insertion of NG tube (nasogastric) placement along with troubleshooting care if not operating properly.

• Physicians, nurses, paramedics and laboratory technicians participated in a simulated stroke scenario which started in the apartment setting and ended in the emergency department.

• Physicians and paramedics were trained with emergent airways on a high fidelity manikin.

• Five students from the Athletic Trainer’s program at Buena Vista University were trained in concussions in football, proper removal of football helmet and shoulder pads following spinal cord injury; heat illness in sports; and cardiovascular problems.

• Twenty-one employees from a local manufacturing company attended CPR, AED, First Aid and blood born pathogen training.

• Vital signs, seizure care and wheelchair transfers were practiced on mannequins by the Dental Hygiene and radiology students.

• Medical assistants learned to interpret various cardiac rhythms using the 12 lead ECG machines located in the center.

• Two PHTLS (prehospital trauma life support) classes have been completed in the center, using high-fidelity manikins and props to bring realism to the scenarios.

• Area EMS volunteers attended two training sessions with 18 participants. Medical assessment was reviewed along with engaging in various cardiac and diabetic scenarios using the apartment and ambulance setting.

• Dr. Liz Day, Dr. Kent Croskey, Dr. Dan Cole and Merv Casey, P.A. provided training around pulmonary embolism scenarios for students from Des Moines University and UnityPoint Clinic podiatry residents.

Many opportunities for growth exist. Iowa Central Community College is exploring developing a surgical tech program. This program would require at least one additional simulator. The college is also looking at options for offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at the Fort Dodge campus. Both programs would support the regional work force needs of UnityPoint Health — Fort Dodge.

Dr. Dan Kinney, president of Iowa Central Community College is proud of the partnership that was created with the center.

“This center represents both a partnership and promise to our community; a partnership to work together to conserve resources and a promise to work together to educate our work force for a better tomorrow,” he said. “We are grateful to many people for helping us achieve both, but in particular, we are grateful to Marlys Smith for her significant gift to name the center in memory of her husband, the late William G. Smith. The Center is a wonderful tribute to his memory.”

Laurie Hendricks is vice president, development and alumni relations, at Iowa Central Community College. Carol Grannon is senior director of development at UnityPoint Health –Fort Dodge Trinity Foundation.

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