When was the last time you heard the word “simulation?” Perhaps playing an X-Box game or during a visit to NASA. “Simulation” is the imitation of some real thing or process. The beauty of simulation is that it can teach when training on a real system may be dangerous.

As technology advanced, simulation training entered the medical world allowing clinical staff to practice high-risk skills on manikins. The manikins are programmed to imitate medical situations involving intubation (which involves placing a plastic tube in the trachea or nasal cavity), urinary catheterization, complicated deliveries and central line insertions. Although clinicians at The Outer Banks Hospital may not be called upon the use their critical skills on every patient, their competency levels must be first rate.

Recognizing the many challenges in maintaining the service excellence of its more than 200 clinicians, The Outer Banks Hospital applied to The Cannon Foundation for a grant to underwrite the costs of purchasing 2 manikins which could be programmed to imitate some of the high-risk situations encountered at The Outer Banks Hospital which averages more than 23,000 emergency room visits a year, 400 births and 1,600+ surgeries.

“The manikins are wonderful,” said Jan Eanes, RN, Nurse Educator at the hospital. “We expect staff to react quickly and confidently in all situations. The manikins ensure that our staff maintains their skills to provide high quality patient care.”

Additionally, on-site simulation training is reducing the hardship of staff who previously had to travel out of the community to complete their licensure training. “There is a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and the training and education provided by the hospital,” said Judy Bruno, Vice President of Clinical Operations. “We are delighted that The Cannon Foundation funded this important addition to our educational program.”

Last year, Congress introduced a bill, the Enhancing Simulation Act, which would advance the use of medical simulation within the health care system. “I am pleased that our 21-bed critical access hospital remains ahead of the curve,” said Van Smith, hospital president. “We recognized the need for on-site critical training. Thanks to the Cannon Foundation, we have enhanced our educational component. And it has been shown that patients’ stress levels are lowered and recovery times shortened when they perceive they are receiving competent, compassionate care.”