On November 6 and 7, the American University of Kurdistan (AUK) welcomed representatives from the US healthcare training solutions provider Nasco for simulation training, using equipment purchased through a United States Department of State Grant titled “Support to American-Style Higher Education in Iraq,” awarded in 2021. AUK nursing faculty members became “students” for the two-day training, building and improving upon their own knowledge, readying themselves to pass it on.
Nasco’s simulation products have moved straight from the cutting edge of simulated care to the AUK campus. The College of Nursing faculty learned about a system called “SimVS” – as its name suggests, all about vital sign simulation. Another device on which the AUK faculty received training was “Skillqube ZERO.” It contains a blood glucometer for monitoring those with diabetes, and its body thermometer permits the exact calculation of divergence from the 37°C standard. For budding cardiologists, the simulator even includes ECG and defibrillator functions. Nursing faculty examined yet another device, the Life/form IV Arm and Pump Set, which runs the gamut of blood work by modeling collections, intravenous injections, and infusions.
The training also touched on childbirth and the critical hours immediately succeeding it. “Advanced OB Susie” simulates childbirth accurately, with enough battery charge to last as long as even the most challenging deliveries. “Micro-Preemie Simulator” trains personnel for the birth of a small, premature infant only 25 weeks into gestation, months short of the 37-week standard. This simulator provides a natural segue to neonatal resuscitation, another of the training topics.
The AUK Nursing Lab’s “patient simulators” are actually realistic manikins. These simulators come in a range of sizes and are representative of differing ages, genders, and ethnicities. The most convincing among them is “Alex.” Alex can verbally respond to questions about “his” medical condition, via AI. The underlying program is so advanced that Alex can assume multiple states (such as “confused”) and personality types (such as “abusive”), allowing for training in both the medical and the social demands of hospital work.
The question remains: How well do any of these simulations reflect reality, thus preparing healthcare workers for helping real people? Three authorities addressed this question. Pete Marotta, RN, Senior Simulation Clinical Educator for Nasco, presented a nuanced view of “reality”: “There are different levels of reality. We try to get at the physical, the visual, and the emotional. Some of the simulations focus more on one level than others.” Khaled Abudayyeh, International Tech and Support Manager for Nasco, emphasized the advantages of using manikins rather than living subjects, pointing out that they enable trainees to make mistakes more safely and experiment with novel treatments more readily. Another party to the training, Khadija M. Ahmeed, a professional nurse affiliated with Clever Scientific Laboratory, commented on just how much the high-tech simulators can accelerate learning: “Students can see more conditions in one month with the simulations than they can see in a year with live patients.”
The AUK nursing faculty benefited greatly from the exposure to new health monitoring– and health teaching– tools during their training. The nursing instructors are excited, as ever, to transmit all they know to those who learn from them, AUK’s nursing students, utilizing these new tools.