Backstage Pass: Peek Inside the Hospital Simulation Lab

At St. Cloud Hospital, Victoria is giving birth — again.

Her chest moves with each breath. Her eyes blink. Her pupils dilate. Her skin sweats.

Her voice calls out in pain: “Don’t touch me!”

Heart rate monitors beep.

Out comes her newborn baby, still attached to his umbilical cord.

Tomorrow, she’ll do it all over again.

Victoria is computerized mannequin, one of eight high-fidelity mannequins St. Cloud Hospital purchased to teach, train and assess doctors, nurses and other hospital staff.

She’s part of CentraCare Health’s simulation program, said Jim Kiess, a media and simulation specialist. He along with other staff demonstrated the many ways simulation can aid patient care.

A tour of the simulation lab is the basis for one of five reports in the Backstage Pass series.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Victoria’s compatriots Hal and Pat train staff to watch for breathing, stress, increased heart rate, anything that might indicate a change in care.

How do they work? Think back to your high school life skills class. Victoria and Hal are highly complex versions of the Resusci Annie mannequin on which you learned mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The hospital also has mannequins the size of premature babies and young children.

And they’re pricey. Victoria is about $60,000.

The department has only been around since 2009.  Simulations are becoming more common in health care organizations. Most hospitals in the Twin Cities have them.

The simulators at St. Cloud Hospital can be used system-wide across CentraCare, from hospitals to clinics.

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