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LDS Hospital transforms entire wing into state-of-the-art simulation center


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SALT LAKE CITY — Moving quickly, Dr. Rob Bryant touched an ultrasound wand to his patient's chest to check for heart damage.

The 39-year-old crashed his motorcycle and was moaning in pain. As his pulse dropped, Bryant sprang into action. In a trauma like this one, seconds matter. And though this was just a simulation, the bedside care was real.

"It can become really realistic," said Bryant, of Intermountain Healthcare. "You can get heart rates of the healthcare providers up into the 150, 160 range while they're resuscitating a patient."

In the past year, they've remodeled a wing of LDS Hospital devoted to critical thinking, decision-making and teamwork through practice. They use crash carts, ultrasound and practice chest tube placement on high-tech mannequins.

"It's as real as you can get," said Nancy Bardugon, the director at LDS Hospital Simulation Center. "Their eyes dilate to light; we can listen to their heart sounds and breath sounds. We can actually put IVs in them."

In the dark control room, educators monitor the voices and sounds inside the simulated labor and delivery room. They also make sure the students are doing what they're supposed to.

Standing at the foot of a pretend patient's bed, Jen Widner, a nurse with Intermountain Healthcare gave encouragement. "Lots of pressure, Hannah, we have to get these shoulders out," she said.

Through one-way window mirrors, the training staff watches the team. In this scenario, the newborn wasn't breathing. "OK, Hannah, your baby's gonna go over to the monitor where we're gonna resuscitate your baby."

Kris Hansen, the unit education consultant, said, "Things can turn on you really fast. Most of the time we have wonderful, really good outcomes. But when we don't, we need to know our stuff."

As the baby's heart rate plummeted, Widner and her team began resuscitation.

"Most people don't realize just how much drama can be right there at the end," Widner said.

In addition to a labor and delivery suite, they have a home health suite complete with a kitchen and a bedroom for home health care nurses.

Yanique Clifford, another nurse with Intermountain Healthcare, advised her "patient" that they needed to give her some blood. And though the man sitting at bedside was an actor, the care was true to protocol.

"We're pushing medications, we're doing vital signs," Clifford said. "We're doing a head-to-toe assessment. So this is very real, and the mannequin is able to communicate with us."

All this to save lives when it really matters.

Doctors and nurses aren't the only ones who use the simulation center. Hospital technicians and even the cleaning crew get to practice there.


Heather Simonsen


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