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Practicing for the real thing

The newest generation of simulation manikins at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center are no dummies — they speak quite well, thank you.

The only way for training to be more realistic would be to work on living flesh and blood.

The point, however, is to avoid trial and error on patients.

"Nobody wants to be the patient who gets the IV on the first start for the nurse. You don't want to be the practice person," said Angel Kinzig, who has trained both hospital staff and community members for the past eight years. "Simulation is a way for us to train our staff with real hands-on experience. We bring in staff in here and we get to practice not only with IVs, but everything a human can do, our manikins can imitate." 

Seven manikins are programmed to put nurses and caretakers through their paces. Among them are a new mother and child, 5-year-old youngsters, a 1-year-old, and a 58-year-old known as Chester Payne.

"We have two babies, one just added last month, and one we've had for five years, but hasn't grown up," Kinzig said. "All of our manikins can give us any heart rate and heart arrhythmia, any type of heartbeat we want to create. We can create any lung sound. The will all talk. They have sentences that are already programmed into them, or we can put on headsets and they can carry on a full conversation so we can have any scenario or situation we want to create."

Four years ago, Asante's simulation lab was housed in a single room not far from where patients roamed. Today, there are four practice rooms relating to different areas of care, two control centers and a conference room in the Smullin Center. More than 500 caregivers were trained at the lab in 2014.

"We began with one manikin in one room in connection with Rogue Community College," Kinzig said. "We've expanded and so have they. We also have the latest and great SimMan 3G."

The Asante Foundation, aided by the Children's Miracle Network, supplied $147,000 for new equipment. The birthing mother and child, which arrived less than  two weeks ago, cost $100,000, and the latest 1-year-old cost $27,000. 

"Everything that can go wrong in a birth, she can imitate ... all the interventions and actions," Kinzig said. "The nurses, providers, respiratory therapists and all of our entire multidisciplinary team can come in and practice with our manikins. Maybe there are different heart tunes we need to listen to, pneumonia that we need to listen to the lung sounds for, birthing babies, care for newborns and heart attacks. The difference isn't in what we do now, but as in realism. It's so much more seamless and skin that feels much more realistic. Then when we go to the patients' bedside, we're actually more experienced."

On Tuesday, three waves of Medford/Jackson County Chamber Leadership program trainees circulated through the Asante campus and did their best to keep the manikins' vitals from failing. Suffice to say, this is stuff best left to professionals.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and respiratory therapy workers have to renew their resuscitation certification every two years.

"It's good enough to renew your (Basic Life Support) or (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) every two years for an adult," Kinzig said. "But for a child, we just don't want to make any mistakes, so we practice every single year."

 Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.

Angel Kinzig, a nurse at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, demonstrates a live birth Tuesday using a manikin, as Reva Siewert, left, Janelle Bond, Trisha Stubbs, Amy Thuren and Angela Beek watch. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch