Lehigh Valley Health Network
An $8.9 million grant from the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust recently awarded to Lehigh Valley Health Network will allow physicians, nurses, medical students and others to be better prepared to face the challenges of modern medicine and health care.
The award was announced in a press event Jan. 14 in the division of education at LVHN, Salisbury Township.
Described as the largest award ever given by the trust, the grant will answer the question of "how to marry high tech and high touch," Edward Meehan, executive director of the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, said at the event.
Such a marriage was reflected in the Interdisciplinary Simulation Center within the division of education at LVHN, a center expected to particularly benefit from the grant monies.
In the center, medical professionals hone their skills in such variant situations as caring for a patient with a suspected infectious disease to acquainting themselves with the lay of the land in an operating room to proper disposal of materials and items in patient rooms.
A lengthy and detailed simulation begins in a virtual reality environment of a doctor's office where a sick man tells the receptionist he's experiencing chest pains through the 9-1-1 call for an ambulance to the man's arrival at a hospital where the man, now manifest as a lifelike simulator, undergoes treatment, including shocking his heart.
"We do save him," Valencia King, LPN, a simulation specialist, said. "When you're in the simulation it does get tense."
In live action simulations, real medical equipment is used. Actors portray patients.
On Jan. 14, actor Renee Wadsworth took on the role of an infectious disease patient, interacting with Valerie Rupp, a nurse at LVHN and member of the simulation educator team, who donned full protective gear to care for Wadsworth. Such training is timely and is of the type ongoing at the LVHN Muhlenberg location, recently designated an Ebola treatment center by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to hospital officials. Wadsworth's resume also includes the role of a pregnant woman.
"I've never given birth before but I know way too much about all of that now," she joked.
Learners, including medical students, residents, seasoned physicians and nurses, emergency medical technicians and others visit the center and, sometimes, the simulation travels to the learners, King said.
A video game of how to handle waste disposal and a digital panoramic view of an operating room also allow for learning away from a traditional classroom. Senior ELearning Designer Richard Wall demonstrated an interactive immersive training tool simulating a trauma bay, detailed as to where medical professionals stand while caring for a patient, where surgical trays and medical supply carts are placed and where bloodied bandages are collected.
According to Cindy Cappel, director of education services, LVHN, the simulation center encompasses 45,000 square feet of teaching/training space and features simulated operating room, emergency room and critical care environments.
The grant from the Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust extends four years.