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Virtua's Learning Lab in Voorhees Uses High-Tech Mannequins to Train Staff - via Nj.com
For many years, Leslie Foran-Lee would load medical simulation dolls into her car and travel between Virtua sites where she’d set up training sessions for nurses in small hospital conference rooms.
“This was a benefit, but the scenario wasn’t ideal,” says Foran-Lee, Virtua’s senior educator of continuing education and simulation. The simulation dolls weren’t life sized and the practice environment didn’t mirror what a care provider might encounter at the bedside.
In 2013, the Virtua Learning Lab opened at Virtua Voorhees. This project was made possible by gifts from Virtua Foundation Physician Partners in Philanthropy, in partnership with Virtua, the Learning Lab allows all employees to participate in simulated scenarios and practice skills they need to continually deliver the best patient experience.
The state-of-the-art lab contains four actual sized hospital rooms, outfitted with life sized simulation dolls that breath and the same furniture, equipment and technology found in patient rooms.
“It is all about safety and quality. We want to enhance our skills in the Learning Lab to ensure we provide safe care and better outcomes,” said AnneMarie Palatnik, AVP of clinical learning & academic affiliations at Virtua.
During training sessions, typical and emergency scenarios are simulated via a control room where vital signs and monitors are manipulated. How nurses and clinicians respond is video recorded and played back as a learning tool.
Other employees, including food service and housekeeping staff will use the rooms to practice the proper way to clean a certain space or to deliver a tray when the room is full of family members.
While simulation labs are not new, they are typically found at university-based teaching hospitals. Virtua is the only healthcare system in South Jersey to provide such an extensive learning environment for its staff.
“Because of these gifts, we have a safer environment that is more conducive for learning,” says Tracy Carlino, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “Our caregivers are the best prepared, and that’s what we promise when we say that we deliver patient-centered care in the best healing environment.”
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