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Sturgeon Community Hospital aims for $1 mil simulator

Will feature blinking, breathing robo-dummy
MEDI-BOT — Sturgeon Community Hospital educator Michelle Muller demonstrates how to monitor a patient's vital signs using a SimMan 3G Plus robotic training mannequin. The training dummy is part of an upcoming $1 million training centre expected to open at the Sturgeon Hospital in 2024. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

St. Albert’s community hospital foundation is looking to raise a million dollars to give its new blinking, breathing, bleeding robo-dummy a home.

The Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation launched a 12-month campaign this week to raise $1 million to build a clinical simulation centre at the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert.

The Sturgeon is a training centre for many nurses, therapists, and physicians in the Edmonton region, said Andrew Otway, strategic advisor with the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation. Doctors and other staff at the hospital hold frequent training exercises to practice everything from basic bandaging to rare surgical procedures.

Right now, hospital staff have to run these exercises in actual hospital rooms, which becomes an issue when actual patients need them, Otway explained. Other hospitals have dedicated simulator rooms, but staff at the Sturgeon don’t always have the time needed to go off-site to use those rooms.

Staff now hope to build an on-site simulation centre at the Sturgeon, said Michelle Muller, labour and delivery educator at the Sturgeon. The centre will include a control centre, various training rooms, and a simulator room.

“It will look exactly like a patient’s room,” Muller said of the simulator room, and will feature actual working medical equipment.

Inside the simulator will be the hospital’s new (and currently unnamed) SimMan3G Plus mannequin, who will serve as the simulated patient.

“He’s got a lot of features,” Muller said of the mannequin, and was considerably more advanced than the hospital’s other training mannequins.

Muller said the new mannequin is packed with tubes, pumps, motors, speakers, and sensors so it can act like a real patient, and can display its vital signs on a nearby monitor. The roughly $100,000 device can blink, bleed, breathe, speak, sweat, and convulse at the direction of operators in the control room, and be configured with various skin tones and male or female components. Staff can reposition the mannequin’s limbs, draw its blood, implant tubes into its veins and trachea, drill into its bones, and shock it with a defibrillator.

Muller said this new training centre will give hospital staff more opportunities to practice procedures and learn how to operate new medical equipment, improving patient safety.

Otway said the hospital foundation hoped to raise the money for the centre by next March and to have it operational by summer 2024.

The foundation is holding a contest to name the centre's training mannequin. Members of the public can send suggested names to [email protected], some of which will be put a vote later this year. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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