Emergency care education brought to life

Rural medical providers and emergency medical service personnel in northwest North Dakota are improving their skills in providing emergency care.

An emergency medical simulation truck arrived in Minot Tuesday morning at Community Ambulance of Minot and will be available to help train critical care hospitals and EMS units.

The truck, one of four in the state, is part of a statewide program coordinated by the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The program, known as Simulation in Motion North Dakota (SIM-ND), will provide education and training in medical trauma events to help providers in the state deliver high-quality healthcare in the safest way possible.

“It’s hard for EMS volunteers to get away for conferences and training,” said Tamera Harvey, flight program coordinator for Trinity’s NorthStar Criticair, and one of approximately six Trinity Health staff trained to operate the simulation vehicle. “This program brings the education to them and lets them handle medical situations they don’t often see.”

Each simulation truck is staffed with registered nurses and paramedics. The front of the truck is set up like an emergency room, the middle section of the truck is where the computers are located and the back of the truck is set up like the back of an ambulance. The robotic mannequin that’s used as a patient, named Jaden, is incredibly realistic. It can breathe, blink, talk, sweat and bleed. On Tuesday morning Jaden had a heart attack, needing a Code Blue called before he was resuscitated, but he can present a variety of health concerns and traumas for the medical personnel to learn from.

Harvey and other staff from Trinity trained in Grand Forks last spring. The system is startling in its realism, she said.

“Patients breathe, sweat, blink at you and talk to you. It’s pretty realistic,” Harvey added. “You treat the mannequin as you would a regular patient you find out what’s wrong with them, ask them if they have any pain and they tell you.”

Medical staff officials hope the training program will encourage more people to stay in emergency medical service and more people to go into EMS. The simulation program is funded by a three-year grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The truck that was in Minot on Tuesday is for the northwest region of North Dakota.

Erica Erck, facilitator for the simulation truck and registered nurse with the intensive care unit on NorthStar Criticair, said everyone involved in the program and in training has been really appreciative. It might take awhile for people to get used to the mannequin, she added. “But if you make a mistake on him, it’s okay because you won’t kill him.”

One of the main benefits with the simulation truck is the uniformity of training. If everyone is taught the same skills, the outcomes will be better. “Every truck is set up the same way, so everyone is taught the same way,” said Margo Dailey-Filipkowski, facilitator for the simulation truck, registered nurse and critical care educator at Trinity Health.

Additionally, the simulation truck can videotape the whole simulation scenario, said Dailey-Filipkowski. However, the video is just used in the truck for learning, Erck said, so that they can go back and talk about things that need to be worked on.

“It helps people open their eyes by seeing the videotape,” Dailey-Filipkowski added.

“It’s fun to see how everyone works together, too,” Erck added. “It’s good training.”