NICU simulator prepares Einstein staff for emergencies

Life-like simulators help delivery staff anticipate the unexpected
EAST NORRITON, Pa. (WPVI) -- They say practice makes perfect, and when it comes to medical care, you want your healthcare team at their best.

Many hospitals are now using simulators to practice skills.

One local hospital is even using one to prepare for their smallest patients.

"Come on push, that's it," says the nurse to a patient simulator.

A baby born premature, not breathing and barely a pulse.

"Heart rate is less than sixty," says another team member.

Thankfully this isn't real, but it's how staff at Einstein Montgomery prepare for real-life, rare delivery emergencies.

"One and two and three," they continue, with the help of a new baby simulator purchased through a grant.

"People want to do well in your job, people go into healthcare to take care of people, make a difference so you need to be able to practice that, need to prepare for the what if's and that's what simulators give us the opportunity to do, says Melissa Hewitt, R.N., M.S.N. Nursing Director of Women's Services at Einstein Montgomery.

She says different scenarios are practiced with different staff in various locations.

"So everybody gets to play different roles or even gets better in their own role," she notes.

Many say the simulator is as close to real life as it gets.

"You can listen to breath sounds, can see if color is cyanotic," says one nurse.

Lori Posiech, R.N., a NICU Charge Nurse, says "You even do feel adrenaline, even though it's not a real situation, you do feel adrenaline going."

It's all recorded and played back afterward to assess technical skills, teamwork and communication.

"If we've correctly heard the physician and administered the proper medication and even better ways that we can communicate and increase situational awareness in the room with that specific simulation," says Mike Kost. Simulation Director, Einstein Healthcare Network.

The hospital has been doing adult patient simulations for several years now.

When they studied the effects, they found the training helps improve recovery time and performance of skills.

They also found staff reported feeling more confident in handling emergencies.
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