Pregnant people in rural communities are facing an uncertain future for health care options. With local clinics and providers becoming less accessible, they often are forced to decide between significant travel time or delivering in nontraditional settings.
Fortunately, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire nursing program is ready to meet the needs of regional patients. Utilizing funds from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Innovation Grant, they recently purchased Lucina, a new high-fidelity maternal and fetal training manikin.
“Obstetrics simulation labs guarantee that every student has gotten the opportunity to experience hands-on pregnancy and delivery situations in a controlled setting,” says Dr. Meg Lagunas, associate professor of nursing and director of the Clinical Learning Center.
“A new OB manikin was at the top of our list because the current one was breaking, and it is an invaluable learning tool,” Lagunas says. “With program expansion on the horizon, it will only become more critical.”
Most nursing graduates won’t work in obstetrics, but many nurses will be involved in caring for a pregnant patient during their careers.
Offering the ability to train in all stages of delivery, including rare emergency scenarios, Lucina gives students a more realistic birthing process and better articulation for labor and delivery maneuvers.
New manikins carry a substantial price tag, so considerable thought goes into purchasing. “We wouldn’t have been able to replace our current model for several more years without the WEDC grant,” Lagunas says.
Lucina combines the familiar with exciting new possibilities. “Lots of the mechanics are the same, so the learning curve was minimal,” Lagunas says. “However, on the new model, her eyes are changeable screens, and now she comes with a nonpregnant stomach that we can use for a wide range of scenarios.”
The new manikin won’t just benefit students. UW-Eau Claire’s simulation lab also frequently partners with local hospitals and clinics looking to provide their staff with opportunities to freshen their skills and receive additional obstetrics training.
“Training the next generation of health care workers is at the core of our mission,” says Dr. Michael Carney, interim assistant chancellor for strategic partnership and program development. “This new resource will help us continue to serve our students and the community.”
Written by Andrew Salvaterra