Because of the time medical professionals spent in a 44-foot bus on Friday, patients in the area should be receiving better medical care.

Medical professionals and emergency responders from Grand Island and area communities spent 90 minutes inside the vehicle, which was parked outside CHI Health St. Francis.

The truck and trailer comprise SIM-NE, which stands for Simulation in Motion — Nebraska. It is owned by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

In the front of the mobile unit is a simulated emergency room. In back is a replica of an ambulance. In the emergency room is a mannequin that’s worth about $80,000. A child, who is also filled with electronics, lies on a bed in the back.

The mannequins are used to simulate medical problems. The male mannequin, for example, might say, “I can’t breathe.”

Nurses, EMTs and others suggest treatment.

When they treat him, “he will respond to that physiologically by computer. He’ll get better or he’ll get worse, depending on if they do the right treatment,” said James Staab, a SIM-NE regional coordinator and lead trainer,

SIM-NE trains doctors, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists — “anybody in the medical field,” Staab says.

A group of clinical nurses at CHI Health St. Francis had seen the simulations at a conference in Kearney “and had asked if we could bring it here. So our foundation provided the funds for us to bring the bus here in order to train our nurses,” said registered nurse Adriane Ogden of CHI Health St. Francis.

St. Francis invited people from hospitals and emergency medical personnel in the area “to come for free to participate in this with us,” Ogden said. People were invited from Aurora, Central City, St. Paul, Dannebog and other communities.

The mannequin’s chest rises and falls to simulate breathing. The staff can listen to his breath.

The assembled professionals can also listen to heart sounds. “He has pulses everywhere that you and I have them,” Staab said. Medical personnel can check his blood pressure, oxygen saturation and respiratory rate.

The mannequins can be programmed to imitate cardiac problems or a stroke. If he’s asthmatic, they can make him wheeze.

“These simulators are some of the most technologically advanced training tools available to the medical community today,” says a SIM-NE brochure.

Ogden said the experience is “extremely helpful. It’s a safe environment that you can practice skills and develop competencies without risk of harming anyone. It’s just great practice for our nurses to be able to practice on both a pediatric and adult patient.”

The staff can use a female mannequin to imitate a mother having a baby.

Registered nurse Kenda Kuehner said the unit goes to a lot of critical access hospitals to bring training to rural areas.

The bus, which is based in Kearney, was parked outside St. Francis all day Friday.

The unit is actually one of four such mobile simulation labs. The others are based in Norfolk, Lincoln and Scottsbluff. They are all owned by UNMC.

SIM-NE was initially funded with a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

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