How can medical professionals learn about and participate in various labor and delivery scenarios without affecting the health of an actual patient? By using a life-sized simulator that not only looks like a full-term patient but that gives birth like one as well.
Training simulations for obstetric teams have been shown to improve patient care and reduce errors. Mannequins and actors are used in place of patients to practice emergency training. A study published in the July 2014 issue of the Journal of Nursing Regulation showed that nursing students who spent up to 50% of their clinical practice time in simulation received the same performance ratings as their counterparts that spent 10% or 25% of their time in simulation.
Today, new technology is available that can further immerse health care providers in the training experience. The Noelle S2200 birthing simulator ("Victoria") is a life-sized training tool that looks and feels like a full-term mother in labor. Victoria contains a rechargeable battery that can run for approximately 8 hours, providing a "tether-free" birthing scenario that more closely mimics a true labor and delivery.
The simulator also comes preprogrammed with more than 30 different potential outcomes—anything from a low-risk vaginal birth to a c-section. Complications such as placenta previa and cord prolapse can be simulated with the use of Victoria's umbilical cord and placenta. Equipment used on actual patients, such as a fetal monitor, pulse oximeter, or blood pressure monitor, can also be used on the Victoria unit. The simulator even allows for epidural procedures.
When Victoria "gives birth," a simulated full-term or preemie baby enters the clinical training scenario. The baby looks and feels like a newborn, with a heart rate, movement, and even crying. The neonate simulator can be programmed with a spectrum of complications, including cyanosis and labored breathing.
The simulation is controlled with a tablet that is preloaded with the software used to run the unit. The tablet can be used to operate Victoria from as far away as 300 feet. Sensors in the simulator can track the course of the birth, providing information that can later be used to review practitioner performance.
The new Victoria birthing simulator from Gaumard Scientific Company has recently been installed in three locations around the country: Adena Health System, PACCAR Medical Education Center, in Chillicothe, Ohio; Carolinas HealthCare System, Carolinas Simulation Center, in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Billings Clinic, Simulation and Experiential Learning Lab (SELL), in Billings, Montana. Pricing for Victoria with the tablet computer begins at $56,500. The preemie baby is $9,000, the full-term newborn is $10,000, and the price for both babies is $18,000.
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