Affinity gift purchases baby simulator for FVTC
Baby is the newest member of FVTC’s human patient simulator family.
01 / 30 / 2006
Maria Nelson, Media Relations
Affinity Health System
(920) 554-0686 (pager)
Affinity Health System and Fox Valley Technical College have become the proud parents of Elizabeth, a three-month-old infant. She is 28 inches long and weighs 21 pounds, one ounce. And, she is the newest member of FVTC’s human patient simulator family.
Elizabeth, who is officially known as BabySIM by the company that produced her, represents a $50,000 gift from Affinity to the college. In recognition of this generous donation, FVTC has named the baby after Affinity’s
“We are extremely grateful for Affinity’s donation supporting the college’s purchase of the baby simulator,” said Dr. Susan May, FVTC executive vice president and chief academic officer. “We are fortunate to work in a community where both the public and private sectors can effectively work together to meet the needs of health care students and employees. This project is a perfect example of this kind of collaboration.”
Vince Gallucci, senior vice president of human resources for Affinity Health System in Menasha, also referred to the partnership with FVTC in talking about Affinity’s gift.
“We’ve worked closely with the nursing program at Fox Valley Technical College for a number of years, so we view this gift as a win-win for both our organizations,” Gallucci said. “FVTC has the most advanced simulators to train its students, and Affinity will benefit by getting quality nurses. And ultimately, the community will have peace of mind knowing that when they receive health care here in the Fox Cities, they are getting quality care.”
Donna Elliott, dean of FVTC’s Service Occupations Division, said the addition of BabySIM will allow students in FVTC’s health care programs and area health care professionals to practice critical care interventions—such as infant CPR, airway management, drug administration and defibrillation—in a safe, realistic learning environment.
“Treating a critically ill infant requires a special set of skills that can only come from hands-on experience,” Elliott said. “We can program the BabySIM to react realistically to different medical conditions and treatment scenarios, so these lifesaving skills can be practiced safely on a simulator.”
For decades, simulation has been a critical means of training for aviation and the military. In 1999, The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies published a report titled “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health Care System.” Among its findings were that the majority of medical errors are caused by “faulty systems, processes and conditions that lead people to make mistakes or fail to prevent them.” A key recommendation was for health care organizations to undertake the application of simulation for interdisciplinary team training.
Barbara Tuchscherer, chair of FVTC’s Allied Health Department, said human patient simulators opened the door for medical professionals to practice and perfect their roles in a safe environment. By networking FVTC’s family of human patient simulators to create a virtual hospital, students and health care professionals will be able to practice as a team in caring for multiple patients.
“The purpose of a virtual learning hospital environment is to enhance patient safety by simulating the health care system, providing the opportunity to practice hands-on, prepare and analyze every aspect of the continuum of care,” Tuchscherer said. “The virtual hospital is important because it reduces errors and supports the interdisciplinary team concept in which physicians, nurses, paramedics and first responders are each responsible for different levels of health care.”
With the addition of BabySIM, the college’s human patient simulator family has grown to five members. FVTC also has one adult and one pediatric human patient simulator in its training lab, plus two portable emergency care adult simulators. All can be programmed to perform complex scenarios such as trauma, shock, collapsed lung, chest pain, cardiac arrest, asthma, obstetrical emergencies, pediatric scenarios, and infant crisis situations. The simulators can receive IV fluids, have chest tubes inserted, be defibrillated, and receive and react to medication. They can also be programmed to be either male or female.
This specialized training isn’t limited to just students enrolled in FVTC’s health care programs. The college is expanding its simulation education and training to area health care employers, so EMT’s, paramedics and other health care professionals can improve their clinical care and assessment skills. Simulations experiences can also be modified to meet the unique needs of the health care provider.
FVTC is regarded as a pioneer in integrating simulation training into its nursing curriculum. In spring 2005, the college was one of seven nursing schools (both baccalaureate and associate degree programs) in the nation invited by METI to participate in a curriculum project for use with human patient simulators. The project was completed in fall 2005 and resulted in the development of 90 different simulated clinical experiences for adult, pediatric and BabySIM simulators that can be used throughout all nursing programs.
For the Editor:
Affinity Health System, a faith-based regional health care network, is the Fox Valley’s second-largest employer, according to the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry. For the fourth consecutive year, Affinity has been named one of the nation’s top 64 health systems based on clinical performance according to Thomson Reuters, a leading provider of information and solutions to improve the cost and quality of health care. For ten consecutive years, Affinity Health System has been named to the SDI (formerly Verispan) Integrated Health Network Top 100, an annual assessment of the 100 most highly integrated health care networks in the nation. Both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton and Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh rank among the top 1 percent of hospitals nationwide in terms of quality and efficiency, as determined by the 2007 Premier | CareScience Select practice National Quality Award. Members of Affinity include Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Health Foundation, Oshkosh; St. Elizabeth Hospital and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Appleton; Affinity Medical Group, a regional network of 25 family practice and specialty clinics – 22 of which are recognized as NCQA Level III medical homes, the highest level of recognition – in 14 communities; Calumet Medical Center, Chilton; and Affinity Occupational Health.