Iowa college teaches in ‘virtual hospital’

A new “virtual hospital” is helping Hawkeye Community College (Iowa) train health care workers, reports Community College Times.

The new virtual hospital and simulation labs use state-of-the-art technology with realistic computerized full-body manikins, 3D imaging software, a medication management system and a web-based electronic medical records system replicating a medical facility.

Hawkeye’s new labs create a broad range of hospital settings including emergency room, intensive care, labor and delivery, exam rooms and many other patient scenarios. With more than 20 manikins, Hawkeye’s simulation labs have the depth and diversity of manikins covering a lifespan: birthing mom, infant, pediatric and all stages of adulthood.

With 3D body imaging software, BodyViz, students can learn anatomy, examine body tissue and look for diseases.

The patient is a mannequin

A state-of-the art health-care simulation lab is helping future nurses and respiratory therapists practice their skills at Kennebec Valley Community College in Augusta, Maine, reports the Kennebec Journal.

When Jake Heart was brought to the hospital, he was struggling to breathe, had a barking cough, swollen ankles and complained of being tired.

Paramedics relayed Heart’s vital signs and condition to nurses and respiratory therapists and they got to work — talking with Heart, starting an intravenous drip, monitoring his blood pressure and listening to his lungs.

Heart will be back for treatment. The “$30,000 anatomically correct mannequin who breathes, blinks, bleeds, sweats, talks, has bodily functions and can have seizures” is the star patient at the college’s four-bed lab, which resembles a hospital room.

Instructors manipulate Heart, a medical mannequin, from a computer in a control room. Instructors view the lab and students through five one-way windows.

“It’s such a powerful educational tool,” said Marcia Parker, director of nursing at the college.

As Jake Heart was being treated, the lab’s “elderly” mannequin was recovering from a broken left leg set with a red cast, while a pediatric mannequin was lying in bed holding a teddy bear.

The college hopes to acquire a birthing mannequin and open the lab for training by police, fire and rescue units.