What's Going On?

Sometimes as a simulation specialist you have to climb behind your AV rack to retrace your signal path. Digging into the dark corners where all the cords blend into a nest is not fun but necessary from time to time. Every time I introduce a new piece of equipment into the control room or lab I do so temporarily, because I know that there is a possibility of moving it somewhere more appropriate. For example, if you upgrade your video mixing system – will the new mixers take up desk space, get racked up or sit on something else? We don’t know how something is going to “fit” until we use it for a while in the “flow” of a simulation. Once a new piece becomes “fixed” in the cramped space, I realign the cabling more permanently. It just so happens that with all the upgrading I’ve been doing, I’ve been visiting the back of my media desk a few times this winter. And here’s what’s been upgraded, purchased, fixed and/or enhanced this semester:

1. Installed the new video mixers for enhanced playback of vital signs monitor. A”superimposed” image from a camera or monitor lays over the main camera view. Both SimMan and HPS are hooked into the recording and video matrix this way so it goes direct to DVD and the classrooms that way too. Students and facilitators see the action in the room and also see a continuously changing vitals monitor “on top of” the main camera image.

2. The METI HPS systems have been upgraded and now support drug editing, so you (or a researcher) can create a new drug or upgrade to a new one on the market as it becomes available to METI.

3. Created a temporary debriefing room/observation area by running AV cable to the Nursing lab across the hall and attaching a video projector to it. Voila instant debrief room! Maine Med and Nursing are currently using this space.

4. Installed and tested the new METI ACLS scenario case files for the HPS. They are pretty excellent from what I can tell. This gives us the ability to do high fidelity ACLS with the HPS simulators-both at the same time. The case files are diverse and offer some unique challenges and excellent worksheets with each case.

5. Repaired several glitches and problems with one of our METI HPS simulators. The problems were wear and tear issues involving replacing pneumatic tubing and electrical pieces. But I also had an incredibly long winded affair with a lung that was staying super inflated. Throughout the process of trying to zero in on the reason why it was never releasing the pressure in the right lung, I learned a lot about the HPS rack and the pneumatic system in detail.

I ended up changing out several key components in the body and the rack. I think there were seven pieces changed (including the master Linux computer) in all before it turned out to be a very small pneumatic sensor thingy. Needless to say I’m not afraid of anything on the HPS now. A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO CURT FROM METI. I couldn’t have done it without his patient help.

6. Installed a voice transformer. This little toy is fun. A female can sound like a male or vice versa. Also an actor or facilitator can speak through it and sound like a child or an elderly person. We’ve found that it helps the “reality” factor for students. If they hear an “old man voice” coming out of a patient who’s supposed to be an old man this is better than hearing a woman trying to imitate and old man. Or vice versa. I think we need another one, maybe two.
He he he he….

7. Implemented wireless headphones into the control room. The reasoning is simple – less wires running across the room is better. The thing is, a control room tends to be an electromagnetically heavy zone. Lots of waves criss crossing the space. We have found that the headphones work but because there are so many pieces of equipment running in the immediate vicinity, the range for hearing is quite small. If you get up and walk beyond 8 feet from the cradle/transceiver the sound cuts off completely. However no cross talk problems have turned up yet.

8. Implemented walkie talkies for facilitator/actor communications. These will be used so that the control room folks can discreetly “control” an actor or faculty member with voice cues. For example, the person in the lab could be playing the girlfriend of a man who’s been in a motor vehicle accident. She can stay in character and take cues from the facilitator in the control room as they say, “Okay, now start getting agitated and question the PA’s decision making”. The person playing the girlfriend has an ear bud in and can hear the instructions and act appropriately. Also during busy days the use of the walkie talkies helps keep track of your colleagues. Multi uses for multi-taskers.

9. OH, Yeah…started this blog. (And it’s taking on it’s own life.)
10. Ordered and installed new emergency bedding. Now the sims are all mobile.
So those are the larger updates to our little sim universe. This summer there are plans for even more “stuff” to be introduced to the program. I’ll keep folks in the loop during the summer.
Seeya next week.

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