The University of Nebraska Medical Center today in Omaha launched four Simulation in Motion Nebraska trucks (SIM-NE) during a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.
The 44-foot long, dual-axle customized trucks soon will be deployed and stationed in Norfolk, Lincoln, Kearney and Scottsbluff. The UNMC College of Nursing has divisions in those cities and the UNMC College of Allied Health also has programs in Kearney.
The customized trucks, funded by a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, feature a mobile simulation, real-life training experience designed to increase life-saving training opportunities through high-tech simulation. The training is free and targeted to rural emergency medical service agencies and rural critical access hospitals.
“We are excited to partner with UNMC to bring state-of-the-art simulation training to rural communities,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “We congratulate UNMC on getting the simulation trucks equipped and on the road quickly to train healthcare providers across Nebraska.”
Gail Suhr, an emergency medical technician with Bloomfield Ambulance Service in Northeast Nebraska, is excited about the prospects of the training. “After 34 years in the emergency medical services, this is one of the best things to happen, and I hope everyone takes advantage of it. There’s so much we can learn through the SIM-NE trucks.”
The trucks feature dual slide-out room extensions, a simulated emergency room and an ambulance, as well as computerized mannequins that talk, breathe, have heartbeats, and can react to medications and other actions of the learners. They can die and be revived over and over again.
Each mobile unit is outfitted with supplies to recreate a realistic environment for learners which includes: pre-programmed computerized medical and trauma scenarios; monitors that display vital signs of patient simulators; and audio and video recording/playback capabilities.
Participants will use real medical and rescue equipment that includes airway management equipment, cardiac monitor/defibrillators, medications, intravenous supplies, stretchers, immobilization devices, and resuscitation equipment.
UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said the SIM-Nebraska project will help save lives. ““These four trucks are a realization of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, of Nebraska Medicine and of the University of Nebraska system at large,” Dr. Gold said. “Because it’s a way of saying to the communities we serve ‘we hear you and we’re here to help you to keep the citizens of the local community healthy, to keep them engaged, to keep them productive, to keep them part of the economic development resources of this great state of Nebraska and to continue to allow us to recruit the best and the brightest.”
Paul Paulman, M.D., UNMC assistant dean for clinical skills and quality, is principal investigator of the grant. Jennifer Adams, M.D., UNMC assistant professor of anesthesiology, is co-investigator.
“The SIM-NE team is very pleased to be able to provide these vehicles and training assets for first responders and critical access hospital staff in Nebraska,” Dr. Paulman said. “It is our hope that these vehicles improve and increase the training opportunities for these valued health professionals in their home communities.”
SIM-NE Program Manager and paramedic Brian Monaghan, who has worked in emergency medical service for 27 years, said SIM-NE training will reach out to healthcare professionals in rural and frontier parts of the state.
“The SIM-NE program will take the education and technology to the learners in their home communities, rather than the students having to travel to the larger cities to take advantage of these resources,” he said. “The training also allows everyone to learn and practice as a team.”
Monaghan said he hopes more Nebraskans living in rural areas will consider serving as emergency medical service volunteers.
Open houses will be held for the public on the dates below:
- Western region, based Scottsbluff – June 20, 4-8 p.m. at the Harms Center, Western Nebraska Community College 2620 College Park
- Northeast region, based in Norfolk – June 22, 4-8 p.m. at the J. Paul and Eleanor McIntosh College of Nursing, UNMC College of Nursing Northern Division, Northeast Community College campus, 801 East Benjamin Ave
- Southeast region, based in Lincoln – June 26, 4-8 p.m., UNMC College of Dentistry, UN-L East campus, 4000 East Campus Loop South
- Central region, based in Kearney – July 14, 4-8 p.m., Younes Convention Center, 416 W Talmadge Rd.
The grant will fund the program operation for three years with 100 percent funding in the first year, 66 percent funding in the second year and 33 percent funding in the third year. Private funding, partnerships, fee for services and state and federal grants will be sought to sustain the project during and after the grant funding period.
The Helmsley Charitable Trust has funded over $52.8 million in grants throughout Nebraska, including a $3.5 million grant in 2012 to the Northern Great Plains Personalized Breast Cancer Program. The grant provides women living in rural Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming with greater access to personalized breast cancer care. The collaborative effort includes the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, Avera Health’s Avera Cancer Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D., Trinity Health Cancer Center, Minot, N.D., Sheridan Memorial Hospital and Welch Cancer Center, Sheridan, Wyo.