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Aspirus Riverview Hospital and Mid-State Technical College Partner to Establish Health Care Simulation Center

Heather Struensee, FNP, Aspirus Medford Clinic

Aspirus Riverview Hospital and Mid-State Technical College are collaborating to help meet our community’s growing demand for highly trained health care professionals by establishing the “Mid-State Health Care Simulation Center ~ In Partnership with Aspirus.”

Opening in 2020, the state-of-the-art simulation center will primarily be used to provide
Mid-State Technical College (Mid-State) students with simulated educational experiences to supplement their clinical training in the following health care fields:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Medical Assistant
  • Phlebotomist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Surgical Technologist/Central Sterilization Technician
  • EMT-Paramedic

The center will also be used for continuing education and training by Aspirus Riverview staff, as well as for community education. It will be located in Aspirus Riverview Hospital’s former birthplace, which was vacated when the new Aspirus Riverview Family Birthplace opened in February 2019.

Renovation and equipment costs are being funded by a grant from the Legacy Foundation of Central Wisconsin in alignment with the foundation’s mission to improve health and well-being in the Greater Wisconsin Rapids area.

The simulation center will be equipped with nine medium-fidelity and high-fidelity manikins that replicate nearly all clinical scenarios, such as stroke, sepsis infection, bleeding, shock and much more. The manikins enable students to practice their skills in a consequence-free environment before progressing to clinical training with live patients. Additionally, simulation sessions can be recorded for review and debriefing purposes – an educational opportunity rarely available with traditional clinical training.

“The simulation center will provide students the opportunity to practice scenarios they may not experience during their clinical training with live patients,” said Dr. Shelly Mondeik, Mid-State President. “Simulation enables students to develop, practice and master skills in an environment where patients are not endangered. Repeated exposure to challenging situations – sometimes not experienced during their clinical rotation – results in graduates who possess advanced skills, strong critical thinking and decision-making abilities, and improved confidence.”

The 12,000-square-foot center will include:

  • 5 hospital rooms to train nurses, respiratory therapists and EMT/paramedics
  • 5 exam rooms to train medical assistants
  • 1 central sterilization area to train central service technicians
  • 1 surgical suite to train surgical technologists
  • 1 lab draw room to train phlebotomists
  • 1 nurses station
  • 1 medication room
  • 2 large classrooms

“This simulation center will enhance our ability to attract and train more health care students,” said Dr. Mondeik. “Limited availability of clinical training sites reduces the number of students we can accept into our health care programs. For example, our nursing program currently has more than 170 students on the waitlist. In Wisconsin, up to 50 percent of the clinical hours required in nursing and EMS education can be obtained through high-fidelity simulation. This center will enable Mid-State to increase our nursing class sizes by eight students each semester over the next two years, getting more nurses – as well as other health care professionals – into our community caring for patients. By 2025, Mid-state will have the capacity to train 350 nursing students each year.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Mid-State to create this leading-edge health care training center,” said Kim Johnson, DNP, Aspirus Riverview Vice President of Patient Care/Chief Nursing Officer. “As our population ages and many health care professionals reach retirement age, the need for nurses and other health care staff continues to rise. Mid-State’s ability to attract and educate more health care students will have a substantial impact on our ability to meet that need – both at Aspirus Riverview and throughout our community.”

The simulation center will be staffed by one full-time simulation specialist, who is employed by Mid-State to operate the center, coordinate training with Mid-State instructors, and build relationships with community partners who may also utilize the center.