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Published on July 02, 2015

St. Vincent’s Clay County forms partnership with college

By Weston Williams, Clay Today

An outstretched patient howls in pain "is anybody listening to me?! I need help! Help me!" His blood pressure rises, his heartbeat races, the beeps increasingly loud, ringing through the room like church bells through a graveyard. But this patient does not die today. In all actuality, he was never living.

This patient is one of the lifelike mannequins in the simulation nursing lab at St. Johns River State College’s Orange Park campus. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals from St. Vincent’s Medical Center Clay County used this simulation lab June 25 as part of a collaboration between the school and the hospital. Teams of medical professionals surrounded mannequins, practicing different cardiac arrest scenarios, to perfect their responses to the wide array of possibilities that may happen in a real life-threatening emergency.

"It perfects our skills," said Elizabeth Santiago, a pharmacist at St. Vincent’s. "We’re constantly in a position where we have to critically think and identify what’s wrong with our patients, and this allows us the opportunity in a training scenario to explore those roles and those clinical aspects so that next time when it’s real life we could be real time and really respond and save that life."

In each scenario the team had to deal with different factors changing in the hightech mannequin and respond accordingly. This is an example of how practice makes and group coordination," Santiago said. "For us I think we saw the progression of care, we started off a little bit messy and then we got a lot cleaner, so it shows that together if we understand our roles we’ll be able to care for a patient a lot better in the future."

The mannequins’ lifelike response is what made the practice so effective, said Santiago. Because the mannequin is programmable, it gives students a chance to witness different types of trauma to which they have to be able to think and react quickly with the proper treatment scenario.

"We can put them into any disease, we can cause them to bleed, we can change their blood pressure, their breathing, we can manually change anything about them," said Diane Pagano a nursing instructor at SJR State. "So the students are going to have to figure out what’s wrong, they won’t know when we change something, they have to find it out on their own. They have to assess the patient and figure out what’s changed. It’s almost solving a puzzle."

As the medical team went through different scenarios, their responses became faster and more precise. They began to work as a unit, and effectively solved the problem in a shorter amount of time, raising the possibility that they could have saved a real patient’s life.

"Every one of these scenarios is a highrisk emergency situation," Pagano said.

"This is the only way to train people on that, you don’t get that every day. You’re working as a team, you’re working with other people, you’re relying on each other – you don’t get that when you’re in a room alone reading or even watching a video on the procedures. You need to be able to react and respond to what the person next to you is doing."

According to Rene Grosdidier, director of nursing St. Vincent’s Clay County, the use of simulation labs helps save lives.

"Any opportunity you get to get as close as you can to the real thing makes us much better off," Grosdidier said. "In an emergency situation you want a team that really clicks well, that really works well together, so that’s one enhancement that we get through simulation. The other one is the fact that we can actually run through different scenarios that have different responses that we need to do, be it certain drugs, be it defibrillation, be it our airway management, there’s different things that we would do in different situations."

In return for the use of the college’s simulation lab, the hospital has welcomed numerous nursing students at the college to use the hospital as a clinical site to gain hands-on experience with real life patients. The partnership is well worth it, said Grosdidier.

"That’s what was so neat about this opportunity here in Clay County, here we are we have a state college that has a great nursing program, they have a simulation lab, and it’s really a blessing to be able to come use their resources," Grosdidier said. "It’s just a great resource for us to tap into."

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