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Oklahoma college uses simulator for healthcare training.

Oklahoma City Community I College has introduced a new tool to help nursing and emergency medical science students measure their patient assessment skills. The human patient simulator creates some of the most realistic medical scenarios inside the classroom and allows future health professionals the ability to practice and master textbook techniques before they enter the workforce. The cutting edge technology, made by Medical Education Technologies, Inc., allows the instructor to demonstrate and students to practice various skills that the students need to master in the clinical setting.

"A student can only learn so much from a picture in a book, especially in the medical field," said Dr. Jo Ann Cobble, dean of health professions at Oklahoma City Community College. "At every level of patient care, hands-on training is one of the best teaching methods."

Although the students at the college have nicknamed him "Dan," the simulator represents both the male and female patient. After instructors program in certain scenarios and conditions, students must determine the correct intervention based on their assessment of the patient. If Dan continues to deteriorate, students must look for other ways to improve his condition.

"Although we get great feedback from our clinical sites about how well our students do, they will now be even better prepared before they go to their clinicals," Cobble said. "Dan will allow the students to witness certain emergency medical scenarios that they may not otherwise experience in the clinical setting."

But the nurses aren't going to be the only students at the college benefiting from the simulator. Emergency medical students will use the machine, as well. Romeo Opichka, program director for EMS, said one particular feature his students will employ is the simulator's drug recognition system. The DRS recognizes medication and the drug strength based on the bar code located on the syringe. It also monitors the amount of drug administered. Therefore, if the student under- or over-medicates the system will act appropriately. Medications administered are also logged in so that faculty can evaluate each student's performance.

"The simulator allows instructors to present the students with real-time scenarios, and they must treat and manage the problem as they would a real patient," Opichka said. "If they make an error, the HPS computer will respond as a human would. This kind of training develops the critical thinking skills required of health professionals today."

Scenarios can be built based on what the faculty would like to emulate and adjusted as needed to keep the students thinking on their feet. "This is very important, so that no scenario has a boxed feeling and students can have different experiences," Cobble said.

In 2002, Oklahoma City Community College had more graduates than any other single nursing program in the state of Oklahoma. Cobble said that with so many students in the various nursing tracks and EMS program, it is important that the college have state-of-the-art equipment to train them to be successful graduates.

"This is one of the best investments the college could have made for our programs," Cobble said. "And is just one more way we can help meet the state's demand for qualified health professionals."
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Author:Martinez-Brooks, Jessica
Publication:Community College Week
Article Type:Advertisement
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 14, 2005
Words:522
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