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Solomont Center Sets a New Standard for Clinical Training in Boston

BMC’s Solomont Clinical Simulation and Nursing Education
Center provides state-of-the-art medical training to
strengthen coordination of care among specialties.

The mannequin, representing an 89-year-old woman, is lying on a stretcher in the preoperative area prior to surgical repair of a hip fracture. The anesthesia resident and preoperative nurse are conducting their final checks when the mannequin states, “I can't breathe.”

Over the next 10 minutes, a simulation trainer will watch through a one-way window as the nurse and resident respond to the patient’s allergic drug reaction, which will include the administration of medications and intubation of the mannequin followed by cardiac arrest. For the participants, the scenario feels like a real emergency as they go through all the necessary resuscitation maneuvers.

Welcome to the world of medical simulation, where caregivers use computer-controlled equipment to develop and refine skills, and learn new procedures and treatment protocols before using them on actual patients. Boston Medical Center’s 5,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art simulation center consolidates simulation areas around the hospital, including those located in Anesthesia, Nursing, Pediatrics and the Menino Pavilion Emergency Department.

The Solomont Clinical Simulation and Nursing Education Center, which opened in 2012, gives staff the most realistic simulation experience possible, using mannequins programmed with predefined scenarios. Entire teams train while video cameras capture their actions for review in debriefing sessions following the simulations.

The experience is as real as it gets, explained Keith Lewis, RPh, MD, chair of BMC’s Anesthesiology Department.

“Simulation brings cases to life,” said Dr. Lewis, who oversaw the development of the center along with Lisa O’Connor, RN, BSN, MS, NEAA-BC, senior vice president for Clinical Operations and chief nursing officer. “It’s not a technology, but a technique. It allows you to see the roles of various people, prevent errors and problems before they occur, and define how to get to a better outcome.”

“Nursing, physicians and allied health professionals routinely train on site as teams for high-risk scenarios as opposed to doctors and nurses training independently,” said Dr. Lewis. “We are the only center in Boston to perform simulation this way.”

The center, which can accommodate up to 150 people, features three high-fidelity simulation rooms, two task training rooms, two control centers, a classroom and conference room, and office and storage space. Building on the hospital’s reputation for pioneering, minimally invasive robotic surgery, the center is also outfitted with simulation for the most advanced robotic surgical system in Boston.
The vision for the center was developed by BMC leaders with the goal to create a simulation area that trains the caregivers of today and tomorrow to provide the safest care to BMC patients. That focus, of putting the patient first, is what the simulation center is all about, said O’Connor.