ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – It's never an easy decision to make. However, some of our loved ones, at one point or another, may require temporary or long-term assisted care. We, the public, are under the assumption, that our loved ones are in safe hands with knowledgeable and caring professionals. Recently, “FOX in the Morning” got to experience a hands on training program outside of Madonna Towers in Rochester, for healthcare professionals. Upon entering the mobile simulation training unit, we encountered what we thought at first was a real patient. It turned out to be a computer programmed mannequin named “Ron.”
Tracy Oevermann, a critical care paramedic involved with the simulation training, explained what “Ron” can do. “He is the most state of the art mannequin that a company named 'Laerdal' makes. He blinks, as you can see. His pupils react to light. He sweats, he cries, he drools. We can intubate him, his lips turn blue. He breathes. You can see his chest rise. You can hear heart sounds, lung sounds and bowel sounds. We can feel a pulse anywhere that you would feel on a real patient. The only thing that he does not do is get up and walk and move, which is probably a good thing; because he is pretty intimidating the way it is,” said Oevermann. “What we provide with our training is the ability to bring the emotional level of training to people and to the facilities. We also bring the benefit of actually bringing the trailer and the training to facilities. So for example, we have smaller communities that are not able to send staff out to do training, because of staffing and financial limitations. So, what we do, is bring our trailer in and we set up in their parking lot and then we have their staff come out into their parking lot and actually do the training. We're actually able to provide training for between 30 to 40 people a day,” said Oevermann.
Marcus Jakes, who is another paramedic that travels with “Ron” says: “There is nothing that we can't do on 'Ron' that we really can't do on a real person. So, it brings a lot of realism to this training.” “We've traveled all through Minnesota, both North Dakota and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, administering this kind of training. Ron, here, has been only around for about six years, I believe. Before then, we used to have to use mannequins that did not breathe for us and did not have a heartbeat and did not talk. So, the instructor had to present the scenarios, by describing them. With this technology, it's a lot easier for us and for the student to learn,” Jakes said.
“When I was first getting my nursing assistance in Winona, we were back to the regular mannequins, laying in a bed, pretending that you're pulling a shade shut for privacy.” Jamie Ratz, who is a registered nurse at 'Madonna Towers' explained how beneficial the days training was. “Then I went to college, here in Rochester, fortunately, they had mannequins there. I learned a lot, doing basic skills on them. And it's actually convenient now that the facility here at 'Madonna Towers' is having this trailer, along with all this equipment come to help educate staff. Our main goal is to learn new skills or even refresh the skills that we have learned,” explained Ratz.
The Administrator of Health Services for Madonna Towers, Beth Redalen, told “FOX in the Morning,” why she insists upon so much training like this for her staff. “It's my responsibility to assure that we enhance the level of expertise of all of our nurses. So, this simulation is one way that we can continue to assure that they have the competencies to provide the quality of care and the quality of life for all of our residents,” Redalen explained. “The clinical complexities that we see in our skilled care, are getting greater every day. So, we need to prepare them for all of these different scenarios that they could see in our skilled care unit. And this is certainly one way to reassure the public and all of those that we provide care for that we take this serious and it's high importance to all that we serve.”