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Release Date: 4/19/2013

Special delivery: SimMom makes debut at St. Anthony's

Using the SimMom manikin, a team of nurses at St. Anthony's successfully deliver a newborn in a high-risk situation. They include, from left, Shelly O'Malley-Robinson, Kate Sangiolo, Kelly Evans and Karla Herrington.

Using the SimMom manikin, a team of nurses at St. Anthony's successfully deliver a newborn in a high-risk situation. They include, from left, Shelly O'Malley-Robinson, Kate Sangiolo, Kelly Evans and Karla Herrington.

Pregnancy-related deaths will claim 15 of every 100,000 women in the United States, according to federal statistics. That’s more than double the all-time low of 7.2 deaths per 100,000 births reported in 1987. Similarly, the rate of severe complications during and after delivery has doubled in the last decade.

To battle those dismal numbers, educators at St. Anthony’s Medical Center have taken a proactive approach to train their Labor and Delivery nurses for high-risk deliveries, and to prepare their staff for real-life emergency situations. Laerdal Medical’s SimMom, an advanced, full-body interactive birthing simulator, joined the Education department recently through a $50,000 donation from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust to St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation. The medical center is one of only a few in the region to have SimMom.

“Many people believe, with simulation, that you just put a manikin out and pretend,” said Carol Ellis, MSN, RN, CNML, NE-BC director of St. Anthony’s Education department. “It’s much deeper than that. Our manikin vomits, cries and bleeds. It does everything a person does. SimMom allows us to train our nurses in a way that provides a real-life-like experience, and prepares nurses for what they will need to know to be competent without causing a safety problem or putting our patients at risk for harm.

“To provide new nurses, who are scared and inexperienced, a simulated patient scenario and have them see, feel and react, helps them to develop critical and essential nursing skills,” Ellis added. “Simulation bridges the gap from theory to application and provides a sense of understanding of why, how, when. It is a wonderful gift: we are very blessed at St. Anthony’s to have this.”

SimMom is the second lifelike manikin obtained by the medical center. Its male counterpart, SimMan (a.k.a. Tony), made its debut on January 20, 2010 in the hospital cafeteria.

SimMom will be used exclusively by Labor and Delivery to assist in training on high-risk deliveries, noted Shelly O’Malley Robinson, MSN, RN, staff development educator and coordinator of the Nurse Residency Program. Among the risks, she said, are shoulder dystocia, pre-eclampsia, cord prolapse and post-partum hemorrhage.

Shoulder dystocia is a condition in which, after the baby’s head is delivered, the shoulder does not pass through and manipulation is required for delivery. Pre-eclampsia is a medical condition characterized by high blood pressure and excessive protein in the urine. Cord prolapse is a potentially life-threatening condition in which the umbilical cord precedes the newborn out of the mother’s cervix during delivery.  

Bleeding complicates approximately one in five pregnancies, and hemorrhage from placental abruption and uterine rupture are the leading cause of death in women whose pregnancies end in stillbirth, according to the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Post-partum hemorrhage remains one of the leading causes of maternal death worldwide, and the incidence of post-partum hemorrhage is approximately six to eight percent in caesarean births, and 3.9 percent in vaginal births.

Unlike a similar manikin in use elsewhere, SimMom allows trainers to mimic the conditions of shoulder dystocia and pre-eclampsia, and she can mimic hemorrhaging conditions, Robinson said.

“SimMom has a small, newborn-sized baby that she delivers, creating a very realistic event,” Robinson said. “We can talk about these procedures in a classroom, collaborate on care and have nurses take a written test. But when you perform the procedure, replicating reality, it becomes hardwired. That’s when learning truly occurs.”

Medium- to large-sized clothing, wigs and accessories are needed for SimMom, to add an element of reality to future scenarios. For SimMan, large-sized male or female clothing is desired. In addition, donations may be made to the Family Birth Center Fund to support St. Anthony’s Special Care Nursery. To make a donation or drop off items, call (314) 525-7330 or drop off items at St. Anthony’s Charitable Foundation, on the first floor of the hospital, 10010 Kennerly Road.

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