CSU, Chico News

High-tech Patient Simulators Help Expand Nurse Training Open House for New Simulation Center April 25

Date: 04-17-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affiars

A new facility in Chico to train nurses using lifelike, state-of-the-art patient simulators is having an open house Wednesday, April 25, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center is located at the Enloe Medical Center Cohasset Campus at Rio Lindo Avenue and Cohasset Road. The open house is open to the public. Refreshments, tours of the facility and demonstrations featuring the simulation equipment will be provided.

California State University, Chico’s School of Nursing received one of three grants awarded by the state Employment Development Department to establish the center. The $250,000 grant was matched through facilities, supplies and faculty and staff time by the Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center Partnership, which includes CSU, Chico, Butte College Nursing Program, Enloe Medical Center and Feather River Hospital.

In a thank-you letter to Governor Schwarzenegger, Becky Damazo, CSU, Chico professor of community health nursing and Simulation Center project coordinator, said the grant will help expand nursing program enrollments and enhance training for nurses already working in the region.

The center’s four simulators have a wealth of capabilities to mimic illnesses, medical emergencies and other patient conditions that nurses will see. They feature speakers for patient vocalizations, internal organ sounds, pulses and spontaneous respirations, locations for needle and tube interventions and many other capabilities. A trainer in another room can talk to a nursing student as the voice of the simulator to describe symptoms.

The four simulators are each different so that nurses see the variety of patient conditions. One is an adult male, another a pregnant female, the third a six-year-old child and the fourth a six-month-old infant.

"Both faculty and students enjoy working with the simulators, and it’s amazing how well students respond to them as real patients," said Sherry Fox, director of the CSU, Chico School of Nursing.

Fox said the simulators offer a great benefit to nursing students, because it is difficult for them to see certain patient scenarios during their training. "We now have the capability to show 10 students the same scenario facing a patient, then have a faculty member meet with them afterward for debriefing," she said.

Fox said nursing students still see real patients the majority of their training time, as directed by state guidelines, but that the simulators will allow more nurses to be trained.

The Simulation Center will be available for training for working nurses and physicians, Fox said, as well as for health care conferences. The Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center Partnership hopes the center can become self-supporting when the grant funding ends in December 2007.

The open house event April 25 takes place during CSU, Chico’s Founders Week, an annual celebration of the University’s heritage and achievements.