The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Mobile Unit Offers Training for Rural Medical Staff


September 14, 2018

Forrest Hershberger

Flight paramedic and SIM-NE instructor Robby Rhembrandt explains how the female manikin is "treated" during a class for nurses. The SIM-NE (Simulation In Motion-Nebraska) is a 44-foot long truck with a simulated ambulance and a simulated emergency room to train medical staff on how to treat patients in various conditions.

Rural life has its advantages, but those advantages seldom include top-level medical services.

A mobile training lab is helping to address the issue.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has a 2016 custom truck that offers a training center capable of meeting medical staff at their location instead of depending on them traveling sometimes several hours for a workshop. The program, Simulation In Motion Nebraska (SIM-NE), includes 44-foot long dual-axle truck with two simulation labs; one stages an ambulance scene and the second an emergency room. The truck comes with an onboard generator and a mobile wifi hotspot. It has an 80-gallon fuel tank, an air compressor that assists with lifelike responses from the manikins and comes with a $500,000 price tag.

The program is based in Scottsbluff and operates within the Mountain Time Zone of Nebraska. The SIM-NE program is capable of staging numerous scenarios, but primarily focuses on training needs of the local facility. The program conducts five to six training sessions per month. SIM-NE was in Sidney Tuesday to offer training for Sidney Regional Medical Center's nursing staff.

Robbie Rhembrandt, an instructor for the SIM-NE program, said the program teaches medical professionals to know their assets and recognize how to use them for the patient's benefit.

"What I really want the students to take away is you're not alone," Rhembrandt said Tuesday.

He said success with an emergency situation is about knowing your staff resources and the facility's mechanical/technological resources.

The vans are equipped with manikins that can mimic many human reactions. They are not limited to a rising chest in relation to conducting CPR, but varying blood pressure, pregnancy and delivery, mild strokes, and flu symptoms.

"When they (students) do CPR on her (pregnant mother manikin), we can tell how effective it is on the computer," Rhembrandt said.

The teaching labs in the truck are equipped with male and female, infant and child manikins. When a class is held, the students are instructed on how the patient arrived, for example 31-year-old male traffic accident victim with slurred speech and complaining of chest pains. The nursing students would be encouraged to use their resources to determine the best course of treatment for the patient, from arrival in the "ambulance" to procedures in the emergency room.

Following the exercises, the teaching team debriefs the students on their performance, discussing what went well and how things could go better. Rhembrandt said they can design scenarios according to the need of the local facility.

In addition to being part of the SIM-NE mobile staff and Western Region coordinator, he is also a flight paramedic.

"I've been teaching EMS for about 10 years," he said.

Working with Rhembrandt is Bob Kentner, Quality and Infection Control Manager at Sidney Regional Medical Center.

The truck is funded by a grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The grant funds the program for three years; 100 percent in the first year, 66 percent in the second year and 33 percent in the third year. The training is offered at no cost to the hospital or medical staff. Rural emergency medical service agencies and critical access access hospitals can schedule trainings by emailing or call 402-559-4863.


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