William G. Smith Simulation Center

Iowa Central facility can make a huge difference for the community

Can you imagine how it would feel to be responsible for the care of a community member, family or friend and not know how to respond? Have you found yourself in a situation that you haven’t seen in a while, needing more time to react to emergent needs, feeling a little “rusty” in those skills you haven’t used? Who can you call? The William G. Smith Iowa Central Simulation Center. Our staff is here to assist all health care providers, law enforcement, fire and any others who are interested in maintaining skills and gaining new knowledge through valuable training at the center. It doesn’t matter if you have already received an advanced degree or if you are looking to increase your knowledge base, we are here to serve you.

We have nine different simulation rooms with eight high-fidelity manikins. Our manikins can actually breathe, blink, talk, have seizure activity and numerous other functions similar to a real patient. Whether it is practicing skills or running through a scenario, simulation allows individuals to act out or mimic an actual event. Continuing Education classes will be made available upon request. Research has proven that students or staff members who have been involved in “hands on” training, retain the materials provided for a longer period of time.

Iowa Central’s nursing graduates had a 90 percent pass rate in 2016 on the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurse (NCLEX) and a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-PN (practical nurse). We feel the experience gained in the Simulation Center is key to this success. The nursing students are rotated through the Simulation Center during clinical portions of the program. Most students spend approximately 15 hours in the Simulation Center for each nursing course.

The center has been open 15 months, during this time frame 426 students in the signature programs nursing, EMTs and paramedics have attended varying training sessions. These include general medical, mental health, obstetric, pediatric, trauma injuries and crime scene scenarios. This semester we started utilizing the acting skills of Iowa Central drama students who play standardized patients. We have received positive comments from our healthcare students who agree this adds an increased sense of realism.

Participant numbers are expected to increase in the fall, as other health science programs have been encouraged to utilize the center based on individual course objectives. Students enrolled in the medical assistant program attended sessions this semester. The staff has spoken to the coordinators for the fire, dental and medical assistant programs to discuss ideas on how to best benefit these students. Numerous other programs within the college will also be contacted. We have only touched the surface of the student body who could be impacted by simulation training.

Recent training in CPR and first aid for Lifeworks took place during the week of spring break. Clarion EMS utilized the ambulance and apartment settings for medical assessments on two separate occasions. This service also plans on returning quarterly. Eagle Grove EMS is now interested in training following discussion with Clarion based on their positive experience. BVU athletic training program director, Dr. Shinichiro “Shinbo” Sugiura has visited the center and is enthusiastic about the educational opportunities we can provide for his students next spring. Ideas were exchanged to create scenarios with an interdisciplinary team approach involving Iowa Central healthcare students.

Continuation of growth outside of Iowa Central is expected as the center matures. This summer, the coordinators will be visiting several doctor offices, nursing homes, fire departments, law enforcement and EMS services within the nine-county area. The high fidelity manikins are wireless and tetherless so the staff can bring training onsite if needed. Recording of the session(s) is an option, DVDs can be made available upon request.

Donor participation really makes an impact on the center. We have been extremely fortunate to receive outdated supplies from UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center, Buena Vista, Pocahontas hospitals, Marion Home & Village and Dr. Janet Secor’s office. This assists in keeping the costs down for consumables associated with training. Please contact the staff if you have any outdated supplies, props or decor for our apartment setting, and/or clothing and wigs for our manikins you wish to donate.

The Simulation staff continues to receive training on how to create the best learning environment. Simulation Network meetings with other area community colleges are held on a quarterly bases to share ideas amongst the experts involved with simulation. Recently the staff attended a conference in Des Moines.

Since opening in January 2016, we have held three open houses and had 115 visiting tour groups, yet there are still many who are unaware of the training capabilities we offer. The staff is asking for input from those in the community regarding how “We Can Make a Difference” in meeting your organization’s educational needs or requirements.

For those of you who have not had an opportunity to see our facility or if you have any specific training needs or questions, please feel free to contact us. Contact Mary Gronbach, Simulation Center coordinator at 574-1307 or via email at gronbach@iowacentral.edu. Contact Julie Mertens, assistant coordinator at 574-1303 or via email at mertens@iowacentral.edu.

Mary Gronbach is the William G. Smith Simulation Center coordinator.