Howard concentrates on simulation center

Howard concentrates on simulation center

Monday, September 19, 2011

Media Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Media Relations (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Michelle Howard might be seeing mannequins in her sleep.

OTC’s director of the college’s simulation center has been working for a year to assemble a state-of-the-art medical simulation center for use by college students and private agencies in educating students and training medical personnel in various emergency medical scenarios.

“It’s been exciting and it’s picking up. The community will be able to tap into it. The faculty are getting into it,” said Howard, who was a practical nurse instructor before taking the director’s position last year.

The center is home to a number of electronically elaborate mannequins that can mimic myriad medical conditions that test the skills and abilities of emergency personnel. Each adult mannequin costs about $113,000. Pediatric mannequins cost less.

The devices are computer-driven and can bleed, sweat, speak and move. They can produce symptoms of everything from a heart attack to a drug overdose to a concussion.

The current program is being funded through a state Training for Tomorrow grant but Howard hopes to someday have a $1.25 million fully operational four-room simulation center constructed in Lincoln Hall that would include a labor room and a surgical room.

Howard said there are advantages for the student in having such a center.

“Students can apply their classroom knowledge in a safe, learning environment and we can critically evaluate their skills without putting anyone in danger. We can put them in scenarios that they may never see but at least they will be exposed to it,” she said.

The community also is making use of the mannequins.

Cox Hospitals' emergency personnel use them as part of their recertification training and the Missouri National Guard has contacted Howard about using the devices to train its folks in battlefield medical treatment.

“For the community, the center will give healthcare professionals a chance to refine and enhance their skills. It shows the community we care about a student would will graduate with a well-rounded education,” Howard said.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.