Maine Medical Center Opens Simulation Lab
Maine Medical Center today unveiled a new, cutting-edge simulation center to train medical students and staff using replicas of operating and trauma rooms, actors portraying patients, and sophisticated mannequins that mimic a variety of human conditions.
The Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation and Simulation at Maine Medical Center (MMC) is an 18,000-square-foot facility that brings state-of-the-art medical learning to the hospital's Brighton Campus in Portland. It includes operating and trauma rooms that are identical to those at Maine Med; a skills lab, where students practice procedures such as stitching sutures or performing colonoscopies; and patient rooms where students can build their patient communication skills and develop a patient- and family-centered bedside manner. Actors are used to portray patients, and are trained to behave or respond in specific ways during "patient exams."
The Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation and Simulation at Maine Medical Center also houses a dozen medical mannequins, at a cost of over $300,000 each, that mimic humans. These life-like mannequins breathe, sweat, blink, bleed, and exhibit symptoms of minor or major injury, as well as mild to life threatening diseases - almost anything clinical staff might see in live patients. Technicians and instructors observing students from behind one-way mirrors can manipulate a mannequin by raising its blood pressure, even sending it into cardiac arrest - thus exposing learners to situations they may encounter in a real-life patient situation.
The $5.82 million facility is made possible in part by a $500,000 donation from The Hannaford Charitable Foundation. Only a handful of hospitals in the nation have similar facilities housed in one comprehensive location.
"A simulation center offers many benefits to learners," says Randy Darby, MD, Director of Medical Simulation at Maine Medical Center, who notes that pilots use similar technology to learn or sharpen their flying skills. "Simulation training provides a safe, efficient method to apply medical knowledge and get clinical experience in a virtual environment. Although the environment is controlled, it's very realistic, and provides an experience very similar to what learners will encounter with real patients. In addition, if students want additional practice inserting a breathing tube, for example, they'll be able to hone her skill at the simulation center, and be significantly more proficient when a real-life situation arises."
Maine Medical Center (MMC) is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1864, MMC is the state's largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing more than 6,000 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in southern, central, and western Maine.
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