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RVCC Simulation Lab Receives New Manikins

Students use high tech training tools to learn skills and collaborate across medical disciplines

Claremont, NH - This year, students at River Valley Community College (RVCC) will begin using high-tech manikins as part of their training to become much-needed nurses, medical assistants, respiratory therapists and healthcare professionals. The realistic manikins – SimMan, SimMom, SimBaby, and Nursing Anne – can be programmed by RVCC instructors to simulate different medical conditions and symptoms at the newly-launched River Valley Community College Simulation Lab, where students in healthcare-related departments can train together.

“We are excited and proud to have industry-leading technology at the RVCC Simulation Lab because this is the best possible way for students and healthcare practitioners to learn the teamwork and skills needed to provide top quality care for patients in the real world,” said Professor Ken Czechowicz, MS, RRT, director of clinical education for respiratory therapy at RVCC and RVCC’s Simulation Lab project coordinator. “We created the curriculum specifically so students and practitioners from different disciplines can work together in a collaborative and supportive environment.”

Simulations of a variety of healthcare scenarios take place at the Simulation Lab, and will provide the hands-on experience that many of RVCC’s community partners in healthcare are looking for in future employees. The new manikins are wireless, extremely realistic, and can be programmed to simulate a host of medical patient scenarios, ranging from a woman entering premature labor to a man complaining of chest pain. The manikins display vital signs and other responses, allowing students to make real-time decisions and perform a course of action, or intervention.

“Students are able to see immediate outcomes from those interventions, resulting in instant feedback, fast-paced critical thinking and self-awareness opportunities, while allowing faculty insight into progress and learning,” Czechowicz said.

The manikins were purchased using budgeted capital improvement funds and manufactured by Laderal Medical. SimBaby is a high fidelity simulator designed to help students and healthcare providers recognize and respond to critically ill pediatric patients. SimMom is an advanced labor and delivery simulator, and SimMan is an emergency patient simulator that provides both neurological and physiological responses. Nursing Anne is designed for a wide variety of scenario-based training ranging from basic patient handling skills to advanced nursing skills.

“I was pleased to have voted for last year's capital budget, among other reasons, because it included funds for the simulation manikins at River Valley Community College,” said State Representative John Cloutier of Claremont, who serves on the House Public Works committee which approves the State capital budget. “Investment in labs and training facilities at NH’s community colleges provide important high-tech, hands-on learning opportunities for NH students who will then be positioned to enter careers with regional employers, with well-honed skills.” 

Adding this industry leading technology reflects the region’s demand for highly-trained healthcare professionals. While students in the nursing and respiratory therapy programs at RVCC’s Claremont, Lebanon and Keene campuses are the first to train at the Simulation Lab with the new equipment, the resource is open to students in all RVCC’s allied health programs. RVCC hopes to establish new training opportunities for the Simulation Lab and make it available for related professional development activities across the area.”

The now fully equipped Simulation Lab is also a benefit for RVCC’s current community partners, including Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont. As one of RVCC’s many connections to the healthcare sector, Valley Regional Hospital offers students internships, clinical affiliations and other learning activities.

“I am very excited and impressed that River Valley Community College nursing, respiratory therapy, and allied health students will be training in collaborative educational efforts which build teamwork, while using state-of-the-art high-fidelity simulation manikins,” said Dr. James Wilton, medical staff president at Valley Regional Hospital. “I perceive this as a very forward and progressive approach by RVCC’s faculty in conjunction with each of their medical educational programs. The future collaboration with Valley Regional Hospital and other community hospitals will be beneficial in training and sustaining clinical competences in the nursing, respiratory therapy and medical staff departments. This simulation program is a tremendous asset to the Upper Valley community.”

RVCC’s allied health offerings include associate degree and/or certificate programs in healthcare management, massage therapy, medical administrative assistant, medical assistant, medical laboratory technician, nursing, occupational therapy, phlebotomy, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, and respiratory therapy. For more information visit rvcc.edu or contact Interim Director of Admissions, Kathleen Aldrich at kaldrich@ccsnh.edu.

Pictured left to right in group photo: Valerie Paige, RVCC respiratory therapy student; Adam Orcutt, RVCC nursing student; Taylor Nugent, RVCC nursing student, and SimMan.

About River Valley Community College

River Valley Community College is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire, offering thirty-nine associate degree and certificate programs in Claremont, Keene, Lebanon, and Online. Financial Aid and Scholarships are available. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of post-secondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.

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