Health Care and Technology

Simulation lab receives grant for medical training equipment

August 22, 2014
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Simulation lab
Users of the Mercy Health Regional Simulation Lab will now be able to practice injections on mannequins, rather than patients. ©Thinkstock.com

The donation of more than $12,000 by a charitable foundation supporting osteopathic medicine will be used to help improve medical students’ and residents’ skills through a simulated experience before seeing actual patients.

Mercy Health, a regional ministry of Livonia-based CHE Trinity Health, accepted a $12,850 donation from the Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan this month for training equipment at the Mercy Health Regional Simulation Lab, 1788 Wagner Ave., Muskegon.

Established in 2010, the simulation lab provides medical education and training for emergency care workers, educators, students and residents using computerized mannequins and simulations. The funds provided by the foundation will go toward task training models, which will allow students to practice knee and shoulder joint injections or lumbar punctures prior to performing the procedures on patients.

Dr. Justin Grill, medical director of the lab, said the organization appreciates the support of the foundation and its commitment to improving quality of patient care through medical education.

“Needless to say, I was quite pleased to receive the donation. They have been very wonderful to work with,” said Grill in reference to the Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan. “The only way for a medical student or resident to learn these procedures is on a live patient, so this is a tool that we now have to greatly improve the education they receive.”

Tonda Brayfield, a registered nurse and clinical resource specialist at the lab, said the grant funding will go toward a total of five models and additional tissue replacements. With two lumbar punctures, two knee and a shoulder arthrocentesis models, Brayfield said the donation is a wonderful opportunity for students.

“I’m ecstatic. I think it is a fabulous opportunity for everyone,” said Brayfield. “You can only use them for so long, and then the tissues have to be replaced.”

Arthrocentesis refers to aspiration of fluid in the knee or shoulder joint, which is a method that can be used to relieve pain, determine the cause of swelling, or to inject anesthetic or medications. Prior to the anatomically correct training models for knee and shoulder joints, and the spine, students and residents learning how to conduct the medical procedure would practice on patients.

With the life-like simulation, students will improve their techniques before seeing patients, which will lead to better patient care, according to Grill.

“Now we will be able to sit them down with a lifelike, same-size spine in the simulation lab so they get the dexterity and muscle memory of the procedures before they go practice on a patient,” said Grill in reference to the lumbar puncture. “It is a direct improvement both for medical student education and residency education.”

After he assumed the position of medical director at the simulation lab, Grill said the organization approached the foundation during its grant cycle to request funds to provide better medical education with the purchase of additional training equipment.

Andrea Masvero, executive director of the foundation, said the recent grant is the second donation it has bestowed on the simulation lab for similar training equipment and that it was willing to supply more equipment based on previous results.

“It is a really good fit for our mission. Our mission is really two-fold: We support osteopathic medicine and work to create a healthier community in the Muskegon area,” said Masvero. “This project was a perfect fit for this mission because it creates the best-in-class resource for the area that supports Mercy’s residency program, and ultimately improves patient care.”

The Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan is located in Muskegon and as part of its mission to create a healthier community through the support of osteopathic medicine, it offers grants and scholarships to improve medical education and services in the community. With an annual grant cycle, the foundation’s Grant and Scholarship Committee reviews applications submitted by May 1 for programs within Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo and Ottawa counties.

“We fund grants annually, so they applied for the process, submitted grant materials, and then that was reviewed by our grant committee and ultimately our foundation board,” said Masvero. “We were happy to support the next level of advancement in their equipment and training.”

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