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Inspira Offers Simulation Lab Training to Medical Residents

VINELAND – The Inspira Health Network celebrated the admission of three pioneering patients, with their ever-changing medical conditions, that will help train the next generation of physicians.

The trio occupy the three-bed “emergency room” within the Jane and Peter Galetto Simulation Center, which opened Friday at Inspira Medical Center Vineland.

The center is just feet away from the hospital’s emergency room and one step toward it for medical residents.

The life-like mannequins are to help residents hone procedures and techniques as well their critical thinking, resource management, communication and leadership skills as they face critical care situations in real time, said Dr. Carla Dugas, the simulation center’s medical director.

The mannequins — an adult male, adult female and infant — blink. Their chests rise and fall under their hospital gowns and when you press your fingers to their wrists, there’s a pulse.

They “can have breathing problems; they can experience irregular heart rhythms and cardiac arrest; they can experience a seizure; our female mannequin can even give birth,” Dugas said. “They also have the ability to sweat, cry, bleed, scream out in pain, and provide other types of feedback to those who are in training.”

Dugas recounted how she had the opportunity to train in a simulation lab when she was a resident.

“It was because of that experience that I pushed hard to bring a sim lab to Inspira,” she said, adding Inspira becomes the first residency program in the region to have “a sophisticated simulation center like the one we are celebrating today.”

The residents’ interactions and the mannequins’ vital signs are video recorded for training purposes.

“Just as coaches and professional athletes watch game films to evaluate and improve performance on the field, our physicians and residents review the films and data from the sim lab to evaluate and improve,” Dugas said. “Everything we do in this lab is to create competent, confident clinicians and, by doing that, we will be increasing patient safety and satisfaction.”

The mannequins are programmed with ailments but those in training can’t get too familiar with their patients. The center includes a “control room” where teaching staff watch and can take control of the mannequins’ medical conditions. There’s also an adjoining classroom where others may monitor what’s unfolding in the “emergency room.”

There are currently 160 residents in training within the Inspira Health Network.

Funding for the $555,000 project kicked off with a $200,000 donation from Jane and Peter Galetto.

When someone she knows, loves or depends upon comes through the Inspira doors for critical care, Jane Galetto said, “I don’t want their procedure to be the doctor’s first time in the game.”

The center will help physicians be prepared for each patient’s arrival.

“I want them to be on top of their game” she told those assembled for the ribbon-cutting. “Our gift, your giving, has given us all an important role in that preparedness.”

Her husband, Peter Galetto, is the past president of the Board of the Inspira Health Network, and his family has a two-generation legacy of supporting projects within the hospital system.

“Every journey begins with a first step,” Galetto said, recounting how fundraising for the simulation center launched last year.

“We thought it was going be a really good thing because our family really supports education,” he said, hoping the center will help residents, nurses and other hospital staff be “prepared so when the opportunity comes along to save somebody’s life, they can do it.”

After a tour of the lab, Galetto said, “We were overwhelmed with joy on how much potential there is here.”

The Inspira Health Network Foundation is focused on fundraising $48,000 to expand the mannequin family to include a pre-teen.

“It is easy to be impressed by the space and technology, yet it’s the teaching and the learning that will take place here that makes this new simulation center so exciting,” said Michael McLaughlin, Inspira Health Network Board chairman.

“Teaching the next generation of physicians and other health care professionals is a privilege, and a great responsibility,” McLaughlin said. “The skills that are learned and refined here will quite literally impact the health of our communities, and communities across the country, even across the world.”

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