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WSC Nursing Program receives ALS Simulator

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010
Posted by Roxane Molinari

WILLISTON, N.D. - The Williston State College Nursing Department has received an Advanced Life Support Patient Simulator to help prepare future nurses for work in hospital and clinical settings.

According to PRNewswire.com, "The ALS Simulator is a realistic interactive training manikin for simulating a wide range of lifesaving skills in medical emergencies including CPR, ACLS, NBC, trauma, bleeding control and first aid. Its mobile capabilities for use in field, transport and in-hospital training, without cumbersome air tanks, hoses or cables, make the ALS Simulator an educationally effective tool for EMTs and other pre-hospital and in-hospital emergency personnel."

Linda Tharp, associate professor of nursing at WSC, said the ALS simulator can simulate various situations and conditions that a nurse will encounter in practice. "It has a heartbeat, pulse, respirations, bowel sounds, etc.," she said. "It provides a very realistic experience for the student nurses in giving care to patients."

Benefitting from the purchase of the simulator will be 15 practical nursing students and 12 students in the associate degree in nursing program on campus at WSC, and 16 PN students and 15 ADN students at the WSC lab at Trinity-St. Joseph's Hospital in Minot. The mannequin will be housed at WSC and instructors will transport it to Minot for the student nurses there, "so those will have the same enhanced learning opportunities as the on campus WSC students," Tharp explained.

The simulator comes with preprogrammed scenarios and will simulate various medical, surgical and emergency situations, Tharp said.

"We can also program him, customizing him to our unique educational needs," she added. "He speaks and makes other realistic sounds. We can even program his speech and can record various other sounds to help him respond better. Also, scenarios will be videotaped and used for debriefing later."

The ALS simulator was received a few weeks ago and the department is getting ready to introduce him to the student nurses. Instructors traveled to Bismarck for training and are anxious to get him ready for classes.

"It will really add a computerized, advanced component to the preparation of healthcare workers," Tharp said. "The unique part for us here in rural North Dakota is that we can simulate patient situations that the student nurses may not see every day at the hospital. Even if one student does see a particular health problem or crisis, not all the students will be there at that same time to see it. Because of this, we can give them all exposure to these situations and the opportunity to serve as leaders in these scenarios."

Funding for the simulator came from the ND State Legislature, which gave approval for the purchase, Tharp said. The nursing instructors at WSC are hoping that they will be able to add a female mannequin which will give experience in the birthing process.

"We are thrilled to be able to have this teaching tool here at WSC for our student nurses," Tharp said.