The Medical Center has acquired new technology that provides enhanced training for staff involved with neonatal care. The Gaumard "Newborn HAL" simulator is a computer programmable "baby" that is being used to train nurses, respiratory therapists and paramedics.
Approximately 10 percent of all newborns need some assistance to begin breathing at birth. Without timely help, these newborns can die or suffer lifelong consequences.
"It is critically important for all medical personnel who provide care during the first moments of life to be prepared with the skills required to quickly assess the infant's condition and provide the necessary resuscitation measures," said Debbie Smith, Charge Nurse of The Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Medical Center NICU provides 24/7 neonatology services and cares for infants greater than 28 weeks gestation.
The use of a high-fidelity simulator is an effective training tool for the obstetrical team, allowing repetitive training of high-risk clinical emergencies. Conducted in a risk-free environment, the training promotes team work, clinical decision-making and confidence among staff members.
Using the simulator, staff have the ability to run programmed scenarios, modify scenarios or create new ones. With wireless communication, "Newborn HAL" can be "treated" in one area and rushed to another, recording the actions of staff for performance feedback. The simulator is used with initial employee orientation in the NICU, ongoing competency assessment and continuing education for medical personnel.
The purchase of the newborn simulator was made possible in part by a $14,500 grant from WHAS Crusade for Children to Commonwealth Health Foundation. The total cost of the simulator was $22,500.
"The airline industry has long embraced simulator training for their staff education," said Amber Herman, Clinical Manager of Obstetrics and Neonatology. "Healthcare education is heading the same way, but the simulators are very expensive. The WHAS Crusade for Children grant helped fund the purchase of the simulator which will be used to expand our staff's skill and competency to better handle high-risk births in Southcentral Kentucky."