SimCenter celebrates seven years

Medical Director David Damazo explains to Margaret Schmidt, director of advancement for the College of Natural Sciences, how the AIRSIM Advanced Combo Bronchi is used on Monday in Chico.(Frank Rebelo/Staff Photo)

Rural hospital simulation center in Chico celebrates seven years

By KATRINA CAMERON-Staff Writer

CHICO -- A medical skills training center for local doctors, nurses and students celebrated seven years in operation at an open house Monday.

The Rural Northern California Simulation Center, located in Enloe Medical Center's Cohasset campus, houses seven mock patient rooms, pediatric and adult human patient simulators, two birthing simulators and three infant simulators.

The SimCenter also features a fully equipped nursing station, a control room for running several scenarios simultaneously and integrated audio and visual equipment for recording and reviewing simulations. Volunteers and actors are also utilized to simulate events.

Nurse Becky Damazo, simulation director at Chico State University, says the center's purpose is to "allow purposeful practices for high-risk, low-volume events."

"This is a place where people can come and keep their skills up, keep the muscle memory going, as well as train students who are just developing those skills," she said.

More that 2,000 students visit the center annually, including health professionals like physicians, surgeons, flight crews, emergency personnel and undergraduate students.

The simulation director says the focus is on the local area, as it partners with Chico State University's School of Nursing, Enloe Medical Center, Feather River Hospital and Oroville Hospital. However, the center has had some international students visit, such as the a few members of the Korean army.

Dr. David Damazo, medical consultant at the SimCenter, believes the center helps health care professionals prepare for problems that don't occur very often.

"To be able to practice on things that don't really come around very much — even the most experienced doctors would find a place like this useful," he said.

The medical consultant said the simulation center was founded in 2006 after his wife, Becky Damazo, saw an advertisement in a nursing journal stating that the state of California was seeking organizations to start simulation centers. They decided they liked the nurse's business plan, and the Rural Northern California Simulation Center became one of the first four simulation centers in the state.

Four years later Becky Damazo applied for accreditation in teaching and education from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Only 10 centers worldwide were selected by the society to receive accreditation in 2010.

"We're working daily to increase patient safety," Becky Damazo said.