Illinois Medicine

Volume 23 - Fall 2022

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P H O T O : S U S A N R E I C H Illinois Medicine | 21 a P H O T O : S U S A N R E I C H A MOTHER AND BABY HAVE JUST ARRIVED at a busy hospital trauma center after an automobile accident on a nearby interstate. The trauma team is interviewing the mother, checking both patients for blunt-force injuries, tending to a bloody gash on the mother's forehead, monitoring vital signs, and discussing next steps. It could be a scene out of any trauma center in America today. But the patients are computer-controlled mannequins, the doctors are medical students, and the blood isn't real. This "emergency" is actually a training exercise at the College of Medicine's Simulation and Integrative Learning (SAIL) Institute. SAIL's current $23.5 million facility, which opened in 2019, was developed to enable health professionals at all levels—from nursing, pharmacy and medical students to residents, faculty physicians and first responders—to practice the skills they need to save lives without putting real patients in harm's way. The mother and baby mannequins are technological marvels that can move, blink, speak, react and even display lifelike emotions by changing their facial expressions to help students build patient-provider communication skills and develop empathy. Their hearts beat, they have pulses, and their pupils can dilate and constrict. The "baby" can coo, cry and move her chest as she breathes. When she is in respiratory distress, her lips turn blue. Behind a one-way mirror in an adjacent control room, an operations specialist observes the group and programs the mannequin to respond realistically to the students' medical interventions. When a learner administers the wrong dose of a medication, the mother's respiration becomes rapid and shallow, and an alarm on the vital signs monitor beeps to indicate a change in heart rhythm. Actors use the mannequin's microphone to tell the patient's history, express pain and otherwise communicate with the team. The team then works together to stabilize the patient. During a post-simulation session, the learners meet with A Safe Place to Learn by Doing B Y S U S A N R E I C H Since it reopened in a cutting-edge, $23.5 million facility in 2019, the Simulation and Integrative Learning (SAIL) Institute has advanced healthcare simulation in the age of COVID-19; created innovative, inclusive programming for learners and simulation professionals around the globe; and helped thousands of healthcare professionals get through the steepest part of their learning curve without putting patients at risk. And it's not even the only such facility at the College of Medicine and UI Health. Mannequins used for simulations at the SAIL Institute can move, blink, speak, react and even display life-like emotions.

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