James Staab, SIM-NE Central regional coordinator and lead trainer, demonstrates the effect of light on a patient simulator’s eyes. Staab helped facilitate groundbreaking EMS training in Bradshaw Tuesday.

BRADSHAW -- His chest rose up and down as Bradshaw volunteer paramedics took vital signs. He had been rescued from a swimming pool, and it was up to the EMS volunteers to save his life.


Bradshaw Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tyler Newton (far right) conducts CPR on an unusual patient, part of UNMC’s Simulation in Motion Nebraska program (SIM-NE). Fellow Bradshaw first responders Erin Ditloff (left) and Sara Newton (back) assist.

The patient blinked, struggling for air.

"I can't breathe," he gasped.

Bradshaw's EMTs got right to the task of conducting CPR in an effort to save the dummy's cybernetic life.

Yes, "dummy."

EMTs were "treating" a sophisticated computerized patient simulator that talks, breathes, has a heartbeat, reacts to medications and other human-like actions.

University of Nebraska Medical Center, Simulation in Motion Nebraska program (SIM-NE) free training was conducted in a 44-foot-long, customized truck that provides a mobile, real-life experience designed to enhance life-saving skills for those in rural areas. Thanks to dual slide-out room extensions, one end is equipped like an emergency room; at the back of the truck is a replica of an ambulance – this time, set up with a child simulator.

The cutting-edge service brings training to rural emergency learners, rather than them travelling to larger cities for training. The program also allows training to be team-based as learners train side-by-side with their fellow first responders.

The vibrant blue SIM-NE trucks are stationed in Scottsbluff, Norfolk, Kearney and Lincoln.

Besides the specialized design of each end, the trucks feature a control room.

They are equipped to recreate a realistic environment for learners including medical supplies, pre-programmed computerized medical and trauma scenarios; monitors that display vital signs of patient simulators; heart monitors/defibrillators; audio and video recording/playback capabilities.

Not all simulations are alike; James Staab, SIM-NE regional coordinator/lead trainer, controlled ailments from the helm of a laptop.

In addition to the adult male and child patient simulators, there is a pregnant woman (complete with baby).

The groundbreaking program was initially funded with a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Among other causes, the Helmsley Charitable Trust in 2009 created a Rural Healthcare Program to improve access to and quality of care in the upper Midwest.

As part of this effort, in Nebraska the funding has supported four SIM trucks and operational expenses, plus the "patients" and other supplies.

The Helmsley trust covers the program's first three years allowing training to be at no cost for EMS providers. Simulation in Motion Nebraska kicked off in 2017 -- partners and funders are being sought to sustain the training program.

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