Rep. Lee Hein and Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services and Interim Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Kelly Garcia listen to breathing on an adult mannequin in the Jones Regional Medical Center's new simulation lab during a Dec. 13 tour.


Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services and Interim Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Kelly Garcia and Rep. Lee Hein (R-Monticello) got a tour the new UnityPoint Health - Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) and Purdue University Global Center for Healthcare Education and Simulation on Monday, Dec. 13.

This new facility provides state-of-the-art technology, simulation rooms staged as hospital areas and hosts realistic immersive learning exercises, allowing both students with Purdue Global and JRMC team members to practice a variety of skills and scenarios often occurring in healthcare fields. Inside the two simulation rooms, staff and students can run through a variety of situations for a pregnant woman, a newborn, a male patient and a pediatric patient.

As they toured the facility, JRMC and Purdue Global demonstrated some of the different scenarios that each mannequin can allow people to practice on. The mannequins are able to simulate a lifelike feel and exhibit side effects like changes in a patient’s heartbeat, seizures, dilated pupils and even a crying infant. As treatment is provided, the monitors and the mannequin are able to react to what has been done by showing a decrease in pain, change in lung sounds or a change in vital signs for example. As staff demonstrated some of the features of the pregnant mannequin, Garcia commented that it was “worth the two-hour drive” for that alone.

In addition to the tour simulation rooms, Garcia and Hein were shown the debriefing rooms where self and peer evaluation occurred about how the various scenarios were handled. The role of the control room, where instructors run the simulations, and the role partial mannequins, where basic skills can be practiced before moving on to the larger simulations, were also demonstrated.

During the course of the tour, the professional and educational opportunities were discussed for Jones Regional and the university, as well as the community at large through future possible classes and trainings. While Garcia was aware of the partnership between Purdue Global and the hospital, she said what really got her attention was the true potential that something like this could offer.

“Seeing the physical space and the opportunities for expansion. I think I was surprised by the endless opportunities there would be to support the broader community,” she said.

As the state is looking how they allocate federal funding across various departments and apply for grants, Garcia was interested in the uniqueness of the particular partnership and the investment that such an operation necessitated. The model in use in Anamosa was one she was interested in becoming something that could happen on a regional basis.

“How do we focus our efforts to make sure we’re building here on this investment but also propagating it across the state? Because that regional model of having some of these centers is something we’re very interested in,” she said. “It’s just reinforcing what we’re already doing and will refine where we head.”

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