The University of New Haven has received a grant of nearly $75,000 from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) to purchase equipment to be used to train paramedics.
The grant will fund the purchase of a high-fidelity simulator, a computerized, interactive, life-sized manikin and a video feedback system. It will be used by UNH students at Yale New Haven Sponsor Hospital, UNH’s training partner for students from the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.
The manikin is the second high-fidelity simulator dedicated to EMS education in New England.
Called Meti Man pre-hospital, the manikin is manufactured by CAE Health Care, the medical simulation division of the largest manufacturer of airplane simulators in the world. The manikin is the same one used to train medical interns.
It is important because it simulates humans with a heartbeat, breathing and other functions and is interactive. The manikin “speaks” to the students and can be controlled by an instructor to provide students with a variety of situations. The manikin also provides instructors and the students with feedback about students’ progress.
The equipment enables students to learn and practice basic and advanced medical procedures such as heart defibrillation without the risk of hurting a real patient during practice sessions, says David Tauber, education coordinator at the hospital.
“This grant ensures that our students are trained on the most sophisticated equipment available,” says Mario Gaboury, dean of UNH’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences. “As our students move into careers as first responders in fire science, emergency response and law enforcement, they will be well-positioned to contribute to society as emergency medical technicians and paramedics.”
Students in the program currently have to practice basic skills on each other, all healthy adults.
“So the first time they have a really sick patient and count a pulse of 30 (instead of the normal 60-100 beats per minute for adults) or one of 225, they think they are not counting correctly,” says Peter Struble, a practitioner-in-residence at UNH and the fire chief in Wallingford, Conn. “Practicing on a manikin whose pulse and other vital signs can vary will help them be prepared.”
The simulators permit students to safely practice treatment on “patients” who have undergone trauma. Using the manikins complements what the students are able to do with actual patients or volunteers posing as patients, Struble says. “This equipment will allow us to test students before and after they use the simulators so we can ensure they have the proper skill level and to improve our teaching techniques.”
The manikins talk on their own and when the instructor who mans the computer that controls them orders them to. They can vomit, bleed, drool and simulate human reactions in multiple ways so students can get feedback from the “patient” as they work, Tauber says.
“Practicing with the manikins provides students with the best training possible,” he says. “This project will provide advanced training for approximately 300 students each year who are studying emergency medicine or are practicing paramedics who need to update their skills.”
For the past three years, UNH has partnered with the Yale-New Haven Sponsor Hospital Program to deliver a college-based emergency medical technical curriculum. The goal is to develop a Bachelor of Science degree in paramedicine.
The new equipment will be used not only to train students in New Haven, where the hospital is responsible for continuing education of all paramedics in the city of New Haven and 13 communities surrounding the city, but also to train paramedics and others from around the state.
CHEFA is a quasi-governmental agency created to help Connecticut-based nonprofit organizations access the financing needed to meet their goals of improving the health and education of the citizens of Connecticut. CHEFA generates revenue from fees for the services it provides to its client base and from investment income, often generating a surplus that it reinvests into the state through its grant programs. To date, more than $14 million in grants have been awarded to more than 100 Connecticut nonprofit organizations.