Simulated ‘Crisis’ Averted During Medical Conference at GCU Arena

June 26, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau

“Hal’s” eyes dilated, his pulse quickened and he went into a seizure before later suffering cyanosis (blue discoloration around the mouth due to a lack of oxygen) on Monday morning at GCU Arena.

Nearby, another patient, “Noelle,” was exhibiting signs of postpartum hemorrhage.

And a newborn needed umbilicus treatment.

A few seconds later, everything was fine.

Vendors at the Simulation From All Angles Conference at GCU Arena display their mannequins that can simulate a variety of signs and symptoms to help train students and health-care professionals.

This triage situation was part of the Simulation From All Angles Conference presented by the College of Nursing and the Arizona Simulation Network.

“Hal,” “Noelle” and the newborn (“Hal Jr.”) are state-of-the-art simulation mannequins used for training students and health-care professionals.

“The simulation mannequins can pretty much do anything,” said Julie Beery, a territory sales manager for Gaumard Scientific, one of the vendors at Monday’s conference.

Hal, Noelle & Co. can exhibit a range of symptoms and emotions, all controlled through a tablet PC with tetherless and wireless communication. These include:

  • Tears
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Varying respiration rates
  • Exhaling CO2
  • The ability to speak and hear through speakers, in English and Spanish
  • Lung, heart and bowel sounds
  • Convulsions and tremors
  • Multiple pulse sites
  • Intubatable airways
  • An ability to recognize what types of drugs they are being given and to react based on the amount they receive.

“The best way to learn is through errors in training,” said Danielle Headley, president of the Arizona Simulation Network, who received her bachelor’s in nursing from GCU in 2007. “And when you can attach an emotion to that error, it heightens the learning even more.

“It’s really cool to see how you can affect real patients through fake patients.”

GCU’s College of Nursing has its own simulation labs that students use to get real-world experience while in school.

Scottsdale Healthcare's mobile medical simulations laboratory was parked outside GCU Arena on Monday.

“Nursing schools, medical schools and EMS programs all use some level of simulation,” said Jocelyn Nelms, an assistant professor at GCU and co-chair of the Simulation Education Committee of the Arizona Simulation Network. “You can simulate things that they won’t see very often or won’t see for a few years. And they’ll feel more prepared and confident as a result of using the simulation.”

Monday’s conference drew about 60 people and had representatives from GCU, Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, Mesa Community College, Cochise College, Banner Health, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic, among others.

Also on hand was a $600,000, 40-foot truck from Scottsdale Healthcare that serves as a mobile medical simulations laboratory. The truck primarily is used for military training but also can be used for mobile units such as fire departments and SWAT teams.

Vance Nesbitt, a coordinator for Scottsdale Healthcare, said the mobile truck was used last year to train 60 Army field medics from the 6253rd U.S. Army Hospital in Mesa by creating a simulation in which a mannequin had its leg blown off and was lying on the ground near a Humvee on one end of a football field.

“It had to be transported to the other end of the field,” said Nesbitt, a former Navy combat medic. “I sat in the center of the field and controlled everything in the simulation.”

Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or

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