Diversifying Learner Opportunities With SimJunior
Written on December 2, 2014 by Dustin Holzwarth
Any medical professional will tell you that kids are different. The medical treatment of a child is completely different from the treatment of an adult patient – for example, most medications are weight based, their vitals are different and tend to rapidly change, and some children are too small to communicate where or why they hurt. Simply stated, there are many specific factors at play when treating babies and children.
At Jump, we are focused on improving patient care across the board. With the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria acting as a teaching liaison, Jump is marrying the resources of our state-of-the-art simulation center to create opportunities for more advanced curriculum with Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
The manikins at Jump are great learning tools, and are designed to provide the closest experience possible to treating a live person. Traditional patient care manikins, like Laerdal’s Mega Code Kid have been used for years to train students with because they are reliable, affordable and provide a great way to keep proficiencies up when using task based scenarios. Recently, the gold standard for pediatric patient care is moving towards patient simulators, such as Laerdal’s SimJunior.
SimJunior is a high-fidelity 6-year-old child with many features that allows the facilitators who manifest pediatric curriculum to really ramp up the realism. Some of the features of SimJunior are realistic chest rise and fall (breathing), stomach distention, changing lung sounds, heart tones, the ability to go into a seizure, and other life-like interactions including vocal responses. Unlike most patient care manikins, the simulation specialist can also control SimJunior, wirelessly. This adds a whole new layer to simulation.
For example, an EMS simulation may call for a patient to be taken from their house to an ambulance. This could not actually be done within the scenario if the manikin was hardwired to the crew delivering the simulation.
This capability is so important to the quality of the simulation that many patient care manikins are integrating the wireless technology similar to Laerdal’s SimPad. Furthermore, SimJunior gives us the means to deliver high quality in situ Simulations in the Hospital.
In situ is Latin for “in its original place,” meaning we take the simulation to the appropriate hospital unit. In most in situ simulations, leaners work as a team to reverse the declining vital signs of the young patient.
This is typically a surprise to the treatment teams arriving bedside, and having such a life-like manikin increases the realism of the event. This allows for the members of the treatment team to immerse themselves in the scenario at hand and treat the manikin as though he is a real 6-year-old boy in seizure, septic shock or respiratory arrest.
Introducing a New SimJunior Model
A recent exciting acquisition that we are beginning to use in simulation is Laerdal’s dark skin toned model of SimJunior. In addition to having the same life-like features as the light skin toned model of SimJunior, he provides facilitators the option to create curriculum featuring conditions that are more common among the nation’s African American population, such as health complications related to sickle cell anemia.
This capability further highlights for the learners not only the differences in treating pediatric patients, but also the differences in treating racially diverse patients. This is a great new adjunct for expanding curriculum throughout OSF HealthCare.
Understanding and utilizing SimJunior’s high fidelity features is something we pride ourselves on at Jump. We believe that working with facilitators to create realistic simulations of medical problems suffered by pediatric patients will encourage care providers to apply lessons learned from their simulation experience on the real life patients they treat and thus improve the level of care those patients receive.
Dustin Holzwarth has been a simulation specialist here at Jump since February 2014. Dustin comes from an Aviation background but has been an EMT since 2009 and has gone on to Paramedic as a clinical background. He has worked with many different simulators both for aviation and for EMS and enjoys the innovation and problem solving that goes into the work that he does here at Jump.
Dustin has been married since 2006 and has a 6 year old son (real life SimJunior) and a 1 year old daughter. Dustin enjoys spending his free time with his family and enjoys taking them all to beloved Cardinals baseball games.