Providing respiratory therapy students with hands-on educational opportunities can present a challenge. In the first year with us we require them to first perform everything on Laerdal® manikins such as SimMan®, SimJunior®, and SimNewB®.
However, the simulations were not as realistic as we wanted them to be due to the fact that the manikins could not trigger the mechanical ventilator as a spontaneously breathing patient would. Since much of the respiratory therapist’s role is caring for mechanically ventilated patients, this posed a challenge for us. Our goal was to Increase the fidelity of Laerdal manikins by enabling breath triggering.
The ASL 5000 Breathing Simulator is uniquely able to simulate even the tiniest neonatal patients. By integrating the ASL 5000 with Laerdal SimNewB with the help of IngMar Medical’s Chest Rise Module, we can now place the manikin on the ventilator and the ASL 5000 will simulate a spontaneously breathing patient. Moreover, we can change the compliance and resistance on the spontaneous breaths to simulate lung involvement such as bronchospasm, pneumothoraces, mucus plugs, patient ventilator dyssynchrony, etc.
We routinely perform various simulations with our students to prepare them for their NICU rotations using SimNewB. However, even with the extensive rotation we provide them at UTMB, the simulation may be all they have the opportunity to be involved with since NICUs are so reluctant to allow students real hands-on experience. Therefore, the integration of these two platforms is very valuable.
The integration of the ASL 5000 with the Laerdal SimNewB has also opened up more learning opportunities, which are multidisciplinary in nature. We have monthly ECMO team training using this model where the entire ECMO Team comes to perform high-risk, low-volume trouble-shooting procedures on the ECMO Pump, while at the same time, the neonatology fellows must take care of the patient’s needs.
The opportunities for are learning are endless with the integration of these two platforms. There is obviously benefit for respiratory programs, but the ASL 5000/SimNewB combination can also be utilized to assist medical schools, nursing programs, interdisciplinary team training, and more.