WITH VIDEO: Mannequins move, breathe, train after Van Lare Hall upgrade at ACC

News Photo by Julie Riddle A mannequin infant, seen on Wednesday, moves realistically in the control room of Alpena Community College’s new nursing program simulation lab as a male adult mannequin waits to be used to train future nurses enrolled in the program.

ALPENA — Top-notch new technology will help nurses provide better care for Northeast Michigan and beyond following a two-year renovation at Van Lare Hall at Alpena Community College.

On Saturday, the public can view lifelike training mannequins recently installed in the building’s new nursing wing, to which the nursing program relocated in July.

ACC’s new simulation lab equals any at training sites elsewhere in the state, according to Terry McKenzie, who manages the lab.

In two of the four simulation rooms, the program’s 55 nursing students can practice procedures on male mannequins named Hal 1 and Hal 2.

The neoprene mannequins produce heart and lung sounds and breathing noises and contain a vascular system that oozes blood when a student injects a medication. Students can feel a pulse at all standard pulse points.

News Photo by Julie Riddle A female mannequin, as seen on Wednesday in a new simulation lab created for Alpena Community College’s nursing department, will provide nursing students practice in childbirth scenarios.

McKenzie can program the Hals to exhibit symptoms specific to acute and chronic medical conditions, either before the simulation or on the fly, as students work.

The Hals can accept needles, tubes, hoses, catheters, injections, medications, or any other care a nurse might offer to a patient.

“Everything that you can do if you were my patient in the ER, that’s what I can do with these,” McKenzie said. “It’s really something.”

A female mannequin and several infant mannequins in a birthing room let students practice handling both natural and cesarean births and addressing childbirth-related emergencies, such as post-partum hemorrhage or a tangled umbilical cord or stuck shoulder.

A fourth room allows students to practice care in an in-home environment for students headed for work in home health care.

News Photo by Julie Riddle Terry McKenzie, simulation lab manager for the Alpena Community College nursing program, works with a mannequin in a new simulation lab in Van Lare Hall on Wednesday.

In a central control room overlooking the labs, a lifelike baby moved on its own, arms and legs shifting naturally as a newborn’s would.

The small mannequin will help future nurses practice responding to cardiac arrests, breathing problems, or any illness a brand-new human could experience, McKenzie said.

Cameras connected to each room allow instructors to debrief students on their work, helping students to learn from their own and others’ mistakes and successes.

The Van Lare remodel, funded largely by a federal grant and local donors, includes new classrooms equipped with video conferencing technology that lets nursing students learn remotely, with cameras and screens keeping remote students engaged and part of classroom discussions.

The technology, standard elsewhere, keeps ACC on a level playing field with any college in the state, McKenzie said.

“Everything is online now,” he said. “If we want to keep up, we’ve got to keep up.”

A current nurse shortage “is beyond belief,” McKenzie said, calling the Van Lare renovations a way for the college to help solve that problem.

The simulation lab will prepare medical personnel to protect the health of people in other communities — or, McKenzie hopes, right here in Alpena for those nursing students who decide to stay local after graduation.

“It’s quite an accomplishment for such a small program.” McKenzie said. “And it’s a great thing for our local community.”

After donors who supported the building’s renovation view the new wing on Friday, the public can visit the simulation lab on Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. No reservations are required.


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