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All Children's Hospital has new high-tech learning center

9:18 PM, Mar 8, 2012   |    comments
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  • New medical baby mannequin simulates real baby situations at All Children's Hospital
  • With the new realistic mannequins nurses and doctors can practice skills like putting in a breathing tube.
    

Tampa, Florida -- A baby's cry at All Children's Hospital demands attention. But this cry isn't coming from a real baby; it's coming from a high-tech mannequin.

The medical mannequins at the new Simulation Center are almost creepy in their ability to mimic young patients.

"He does blink, he can cry tears," says ACH Education Specialist Lisa McGuire, standing over a mannequin of a young boy.

And you can add pee and bleed to the list of the boy's functions. The more realistic the action the better, because it's here that new nurses and doctors practice skills, like putting in a breathing tube. It's hands on education, but at arm's length from a sick kid.

"They don't have to go from the classroom straight to a patient," says McGuire. "They have an opportunity to practice their skills, get really good at those and then go see their patient."

Seasoned staff can also benefit from the simulation exercises, especially when McGuire, watching through one-way glass, tosses new problems at them via a computer.

"If I feel they're handling something really well, I can make it more complicated," she says.

So who makes this all possible? Well, here's a hint.

"This is Sam Walton," McGuire says, introducing one of the mannequins.

That's right, Walmart/Sam's Club made a $545,000 donation to help create the simulation center.

However, along with the company, its shoppers are making a difference. Each spring during Miracle Days, customers at checkout donate dollars to help the hospital.

"It's very gratifying to see the members get involved," says Pinellas Park Club Manager Todd Fornshell. "I think it's important to them, because the money stays inside the community. It hits home with them also."

So this is no simulation, the people of Tampa Bay truly are good medicine for All Children's.

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