Technical Notes from the Wizard…

April 21st, 2011 by reling

…Of Oz!  Get it?  “The man behind the curtain!”

Anywho, this month’s tech-focused blog post deals with four little pieces that have been of note during the month of April.  Enjoy!


An exciting little project: removal of a METI HPS head.  The HPS being used in our simulated operating room has a very messed up face: a tear from the corner of his mouth, some stains and lots of general grime.  While it is still under warranty (just a few more weeks…no renewal possible for this old unit), I decided to get his face replaced.  This requires a trip to Sarasota, FL and some tender care from METI Customer Support.

Ryan performs a decapitation on a METI HPS.

While I was a little apprehensive before starting the task, it turned out to be fairly simple.  All the tubes have quick-release connections and are clearly labeled at both ends: esophagus, bronchi, eye control, etc.  The only trick was disconnecting his spine: I got a tip from METI’s Ben Walker to detach the spine at the base of the skull, not the neck.  I did need to hunt around campus for the correct size allen wrench; thanks a bunch to Elaine and the good folks in ITS.  Then, with time and patience (the close quarters only allow for about 120 degrees rotation before you have to reseat the wrench), I was able to perform a successful Mortal Kombat finishing move.  Get Over Here!

Ryan poses with the liberated cranium.

Control Room

One of the joys of being the technical head of the simulation program here at UNE is the opportunity to reassess our operations and then go about refining our lab’s systems.  For the past year, I have felt frustration with the layout of the control rooms; in particular, the control room that doubles as my office.

It gets crowded easily in here.

The difficulty comes with the multi-function nature of the space: sometimes it is just an office where I program, cut video and eat lunch; other times it is chock full of people running a scenario (myself, faculty, actors, etc).  When being shared by multiple people, we are constantly getting in each others’ way: a beverage blocks the mouse I need to use, I have to squeeze past someone to get a microphone, everyone’s backpacks/purses are tripped over.  So I wanted to figure out a way to consolidate my systems and create a separation of “tech space” and “guest space.”

Luckily I had the time to rearrange my multiple computer systems and the money to purchase a wall mount for a monitor.  By moving stuff up and over, I was able to make my technician space and a public space clearly defined.  Now, bags can go under the desktop or on the hooks mounted on the wall and faculty notes can be organized on top.

Ah, much better. Cleanup creates space for our guests to occupy and Ryan can now run all systems from the far end.


For UNE’s Annual Spring Symposium, CSP was called on to help create and record several video vignettes relating to veterans’ health issues.  One of the vignettes focused on a soldier with an IED-related arm injury.  Cynthia and I needed to doctor the actor’s arm up for the videotaping, but did not want to spend a long time on the project.  We chose to use a Laerdal rubber burn skin:

Does this gross you out? It grosses my wife out.

Intended for use on our SimMan, this piece easily slipped onto the actor’s hand.  We then wrapped the rubber hand and the actor’s forearm in gauze, securing everything in place and adding that clinical touch.  Here it is in action:

Uh, you might wanna have someone look at that...


Lastly, exciting news!  We received approval to purchase SimMan 3G a month or so ago (which I believe Cynthia mentioned previously on these pages) but we have now learned that he is on his way!  While offering all the features of our current SimMan, 3G has several unique additions, the most obvious being his lack of wires…we get to go mobile with our adult simulation scenarios.  3G also brings a simple, quick to set up fluid system to our program: he’ll bleed, cry, foam at the mouth and sweat at the drop of a hat.  Look for an upcoming announcement of Mr. 3G’s welcoming party!

That’s all from the desk of the Wizard!

Marvelous March

April 7th, 2011 by cmorris

March has come to an end and it’s time to submit another update on the activity here in the clinical simulation labs. Every day of this past month, except during spring break, we had students learning in our sim spaces. Here are a few highlights:

This month we welcomed newcomers from the School of Pharmacy. Ninety-seven students practiced their respiratory assessment skills to rave reviews. “Great experience to provide us with an idea of a real clinical setting and the possible role of the pharmacist.” “This was a great learning experience. I was very impressed by the facilities and the quality of the artificial environment.”

Pharmacy students positioning patient for respiratory assessment.

Not newcomers to simulation, but here for the first time this year, Occupational Therapy students returned to the simulation labs to demonstrate their skills for evaluating instructors. At one point, all four of simulation theaters were occupied as student pairs took turns playing the role of the therapist or the client. Each session was captured and uploaded to our sim server. Students can access the recorded sessions to review.

With left sided weakness, the client learns how to put on a shirt and button it up.

Actors and faculty gathered in the simulation labs for the filming of  vignettes that will be shown at breakout sessions during Spring Symposium on April 7th. Three brief scenes were filmed and edited by Ryan. Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Social Work faculty collaborated with actors from Adverb Productions to create compelling case studies for symposium participants to discuss.

Ryan the filmmaker with Kirsten Thomsen and Christine Hall

Interview at the Veteran's Clinic (Bill Croninger, OT faculty)

Shelley Cohen Konrad has developed unfolding case studies for her social work students and this month brought the return of  the actors to their roles of the pervious month. The students have been working with the same “clients” throughout the semester and have used their therapeutic skills to provide counseling and emotional support for this couple in crisis.

Session captured for admissions video production.

Cynthia and Dawne-Marie Dunbar were honored to be chosen to participate in the  Health Information Technology Scholars (HITS) program which is a faculty development collaborative partially funded by  the Health Resources and Services Administration (HERSA). The focus of the program is to expand integration of technology into the nursing curriculum. Cynthia and Dawne-Marie have developed a technology project, completed a series of online modules and recently went to Johns Hopkins to attend a workshop designed to provide an opportunity for HITS scholars from across the country to collaborate on technology projects.

In March Cynthia presented at the Drexel University Simulation in Healthcare Conference. Simulation Stone Soup: How to Create Rich Simulation Experiences

Nursing students from our Adult Medical Surgical clinical groups and specialty nursing courses (Maternity, Pediatrics and Psych) have continued to clock many hours with SimMan, Simbaby, Pediatric Hal and our volunteer actors.

What do you do if the power goes out during a surgical procedure? MSNA students had a chance to experience this occurrence during their weekly practice sessions and open labs offered throughout the month. “This experience gave me a feel for the OR and the flow of events during induction, emergence and power failure” “I think the sim lab was extremely helpful in preparing all of us for real life situations.”

Power is lost!