CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune’s newest simulation lab brings a level of technology never before seen on its campus.
A variety of computer-operated mannequins have been bought by the Navy for the hospital to improve proficiency and confidence from the most junior corpsman to the most senior doctor.
The mannequins offer a variety of scenarios in real time, ranging from heart attacks, natural and cesarean childbirth, laprascopic procedures and other life-saving procedures. At a price tag of more than $100,000 per mannequin, the simulation lab is equipped with a life-sized newborn, mother and male mannequin.
For Navy Cmdr. Eric Gryn, 38, the skills he is able to practice in the new simulation lab will make him more proficient in everyday occurrences in the emergency room, where he is a nurse practitioner and trauma coordinator but also will help him develop his skills in rarer situations that may present only once or twice in a doctor’s career, he said.
“We will be better prepared for our encounters in the clinical realm because of these mannequins,” Gryn said. “The patient will benefit from this because we will be quicker to respond to a particular situation.”
Regardless of who gets to practice with the mannequins, Gryn said that everyone will benefit from hands-on training because it allows each person to get hands-on clinical experience without having a real patient in front of them.
The mannequins, which he said are used to practice everyday trauma and battlefield trauma offer a touch of realism and allow the staff “to train how we fight.
“Anyone you talk to, whether it’s for a heart attack or stroke, time is muscle, time is brain, time is life,” Gryn said. “Time is very important and the more you have between treatments and interventions, the less likely they are to make it through an event.”
As a family medicine physician at the hospital, Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Saenz, 33, of New Bern said the mannequins will continue to bolster confidence, which presents a better image to the patients and puts them at ease during procedures.
“Having the Navy invest so much in my proficiency is inspiring,” Saenz said. “I have seen other simulator setups at other facilities, but we have the most complete setup I have ever seen. Even for things we do in family medicine, there are comprehensive trainers in this room that we can use.”
One of the best ways to learn, according to Saenz, is to make mistakes, but that is not practical when treating a real patient.
The simulators, he said, allow providers to make mistakes without life-threatening consequences. Also, the mannequins allow doctors and corpsman can practice perishable skills that don’t get attention all the time, he said.
Residents, he added, training at the hospital will be taught on the mannequins everything from internal medicine to trauma.
“The mannequins make me much more confident in being able to perform my job,” Saenz said. “Having used mannequins during medical school and my residency, these are perishable skills.”
As the department head for staff education and training, Lt. Cmdr. Lorriee Meyer said the simulation lab will pay huge dividends for the residents who train at the Naval Hospital before their board certifications. It won’t just be the residents, she said, but junior corpsman who need clinical experience will also practice on the systems.
“It’s a real eye opener working on mannequins,” Meyer said. “You can show competency on a mannequin rather than on a real patient. This will enable them to practice before they ever see a patient which will make the patients more confident in those who render care when they finally do treat a patient.”
Being confident, she said, is something that the Naval Hospital aspires to instill in each of their providers.
“Simulation is the wave of the future in medicine,” Meyer said. “They’re moving away from live tissue and everything is simulation-based. By us getting the simulation lab, we are ensuring we are staying current in medicine and practicing for the way ahead.”