Sage tests high-tech solution for nursing shortage

One of the reasons for the shortage of nurses that continues to plague the heath care industry is too few clinical spaces where students can practice nursing care, but that's about to change with the increased use of high-tech mannequins that simulate real patient conditions including childbirth, trauma and many other real-world nursing situations.

Sage nursing department officials, St. Peter's Hospital officials, representatives from STS International and Simulaids, manufacturers of the medical simulation systems, will demonstrate how the realistic models work on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. on the Troy campus of Sage. The simulation will take place in the basement of Russell Sage College's Ackerman Nursing Building on 2nd Street (next door to the Troy Public Library on 2nd between Congress and Division streets) in downtown Troy.

"The Simulaids mannequin and STS' control software provide the opportunity to videotape and review a student's work," said Glenda Kelman, chair of Sage's nursing program. "Just as important -- it provides a safe environment for students to learn and develop confidence and an opportunity to learn from mistakes without causing harm to patients."

The same software and mannequins were first used to train medics for the Iraq war.

The nursing shortage is expected to double to about 17 percent nationally by the year 2010 in part because of a shrinking number of opportunities for clinical placement of nursing students. Exacerbating the already critical situation are new regulations recently released by the federal government concerning reimbursements that will sever funds from hospital nursing school programs across the country potentially shutting down entire hospital-based nursing schools.

"With clinical space at a premium, clinical simulation can be an effective use of clinical hours for part of clinical requirements," Kelman said. "There is potential in the Capital Region for the creation of a shared state-of-the-art simulation center that has the potential to increase our ability to graduate more nurses."

We realize decisions are made on the fly in many cases, but if you know in advance whether you or one of your staff are planning to attend, please contact Sheila Carmody at (518) 366-6148. We want to ensure the demonstration space is adequate for all. Last minutes are, of course, also welcome to attend.

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