Centegra staff using Rosalind Franklin University simulation center for training in Huntley

HUNTLEY – The patient blinks, breathes, has vital signs and can talk to the doctor.

But it isn’t real.

The patients in a new simulation center at Centegra Hospital – Huntley are mannequins operated in an adjacent observation room. The setup creates simulations of real-life scenarios to help prepare medical students and nurses.

Rosalind Franklin University’s Center for Advanced Simulation in Healthcare recently opened at the Centegra Hospital – Huntley campus to provide new training for nurses, physicians and Rosalind Franklin students.

James Carlson, vice president for interprofessional education and simulation at Rosalind Franklin, said the system allows staff from the Woodstock, McHenry and Huntley hospital campuses to be able to practice skills in a supportive and collaborative environment that doesn’t put real patients at risk.

“Patient outcomes can suffer from us not working as a team,” said Amy Druml, director of operations and professional practice at Centegra. “The more we can practice critical experiences, we can iron out questions and make the process smoother.”

Rosalind Franklin is a graduate-level health sciences university in North Chicago, and it teams with a number of hospitals, including Advocate Health Care and Centegra Health System facilities.

The university picked Centegra Hospital – Huntley to house the 33,000-square-foot simulation center that includes a small mock hospital with an intensive care unit, trauma center and emergency rooms, along with labor and delivery rooms.

“You never want someone to practice on an actual flesh-and-blood patient, because if you give the wrong dose of medication or do a procedure wrong, you can’t just reboot the mannequin,” Carlson said. “Here, you run it again until you get it right.”

A window is cut from the mock hospital room with a control room on the other side, allowing people to control the mannequin.

People also are hired to work as actors to run through certain scenarios, and the hospital has seen a lot of interest from Del Webb residents, Carlson said.

“It helps with assessing students’ interpersonal communications skills with patients,” Carlson said. “Sometimes physicians might misdiagnose a patient because they didn’t ask the right question. This allows them to practice that, and we can score them.”

The back of an ambulance is built into the wall of one room, and a large tablet computer simulates a cadaver and autopsy table to provide additional scenarios.

Druml said the retention of knowledge people take away has been helpful.

“Everybody has a different learning style, so this is a new way to practice that you can’t do by reading a book or watching a video,” Druml said. “This is an opportunity to practice hands-on skills, and it’s great to see their excitement when they see how something works.”

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