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Delnor lab offers training to physicians, nursing students

GENEVA – Delnor nurses and physicians now have a new high-tech way to train.

The new Kay L. and Earl K. Harbaugh Clinical Simulation Lab will open Monday on the Delnor Hospital campus at 300 Randall Road, Geneva. The lab features high-tech manikins programmed to display thousands of lifelike symptoms – including bleeding and sweating – and respond to medical intervention as a human patient would.

“We’re trying to replicate real life as much as we can,” said Michelle Olech, administrator of clinical simulation for Cadence Health. She manages the simulation labs at Delnor and Central DuPage Hospital.

For example, the baby manikin can cry and coo, and the adult manikins are programmed to speak.

“Essentially, anything that a baby can do, we can do here,” Olech said. “We can do any intervention that we would do for a real baby.”

Lore Bogolin, Delnor’s chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care, said the fact the manikins can speak is helpful in training exercises.

“They can talk back to us to give us feedback. It doesn’t get any more real,” Bogolin said.

The Harbaughs, of St. Charles, were able to see the technology for themselves during a lab exercise last week. Hospital officials said it was their gift that was the driving force behind making the simulation lab a reality.

Kay Harbaugh, who worked in medical/surgical and home health care before teaching obstetrics in a school of nursing, was impressed at the training opportunities the simulation lab offers.

“It’s the next level of technology that is out there,” she said. “This will only enhance patient care.”

She has history of volunteer service at Delnor that spans 33 years, including serving as auxiliary president and scholarship committee chair, and 12 years on the Delnor board of directors. In 2007, Delnor Hospital honored her with its Bartel Leadership Excellence Award.

“This is about better care, increasing the level of care,” Earl Harbaugh said. “This is our community. It’s our hospital system.”

Kari Frieders, clinical nurse specialist at Delnor, was among those participating in the recent lab exercise, which involved one of the manikins being admitted to the hospital for a femur fracture and then becoming unresponsive.

Frieders and the other staff members were able to resuscitate the manikin, who in this scenario, was a 78-year-old man.

“It feels very real,” Frieders said. “You really get the feel of the experience. That’s what we want. We want the learner to feel the experience is real.”

Each scenario is videotaped. Afterwards, participants go into a debriefing room and discuss what happened.

“That’s truly where the learning happens,” Olech said.

In addition to physicians and nurses being able to learn at the simulation lab, it will be open to nursing students and EMS and paramedic staff in the Fox Valley.

“They can come here and train and use the facilities,” Bogolin said. “That’s the benefit to the community.”

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