Practice makes perfect
Palisades staff refreshes cardio support skills with mannequin
by Tricia Tirella
Reporter staff writer
Mar 21, 2010 | 1914 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SIMULATING EMERGENCIES – Palisades Medical Center staff members now complete their advanced cardiovascular life support training with a computerized mannequin. They can even do it at home. From left to right; Mirachel Enriquez-Tan, R.N., “Arnie Airway,” and Margaret Seisz, R.N.
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Palisades Medical Center staff members can now complete their advanced cardiovascular life support training with a computerized mannequin, which they can even use at home.

According to Director of Education Rosemarie Bauer, she was approached by the HeartCode Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) online program last year. ACLS training is a part of hospital staff’s continued education, which reaffirms their skills.

The two-year contract cost PMC $14,000, a small price for patient safety, said Bauer.

“It standardizes performance.” – Rosemarie Bauer

Previously they took a two-day course taught by an instructor. Now PMC physicians, physician assistants, and nurses take an online, self-paced tutorial that normally spans four to six hours before being completed. Afterward, they schedule an appointment with “Arnie Airway,” the voice-assisted mannequin that tests their skills, such has performing CPR and using a defibrillator. The simulator tells them when they are completing steps correctly, or if they need more practice at their ACLS skills.

“It standardizes performance,” said Bauer. “The instructor just looked at you do your skills and that can be subjective. This is more objective.”

First to complete program

Mirachel Enriquez-Tan, a R.N. in the ambulatory services department, was the first to complete the program at PMC.

She said the online tutorial was nerve-wracking and difficult since one could not progress to the next step without successfully completing the last.

She also enjoyed the fact that it could be completed on her time at home. Even her children were curious about how she would complete CPR on a patient.

Margaret Seisz, a R.N. in the cardiac rehab department, said that the program was also difficult because the person completing the tutorial controls everything, including the doctors in the scenario.

“I use to see [ACLS situations] all the time when I was working on the floor,” said Enriquez-Tan, who has been working at PMC for 21 years.

She explained that the online program instituted a standard routine for nurses in other departments that may not have to deal with ACLS patients as often as others.

“When we would have our [two-day] renewal [course], it wouldn’t be as complicated,” said Seisz, who has worked at PMC for 22 years. “The patient would recover and everything is fine. This is something else and you really had to think.

Expecting the best

Bauer said that the online tutorial has nine scenarios that increase in severity as it goes along.

“As they progress they get a little tougher,” said Bauer. “Now the patient’s heart rate changes, so what are you going to do? What medications are you going to administer? Do you need the defibrillator?”

PMC was rated as one of the top hospitals in New Jersey’s annual healthcare report card and as the best in Hudson County. It also was one of only two hospitals in New Jersey to receive a 100 percent score in treating heart attack patients.

Bauer said that patient safety plays a large part at the hospital, as well as with their education department.

“Rather than make mistakes upstairs, they make mistakes here [with the simulator], so it teaches them” said Bauer.

Expanding program

Bauer said that the HeartCode ACLS is the official program supported by the American Heart Association.

She hopes to expand the program soon to a similar pediatric life-support simulator.

Simulation, Bauer said, is “very big” in teaching hospitals, along with hospitals in Southern and Midwest U.S. states.

Bauer said that many nurses told her that they felt the program had taught them more.

“It is a really nice learning experience,” said Enriquez-Tan.

Tricia Tirella may be reached at

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