GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Every baby deserves a healthy start in life. When a baby is born too early, however, that healthy start can require some specialized training. The Advocate Aurora Simulation Center at Aurora BayCare Medical Center provides nurses-in-training the skills and experience they need when caring for the most fragile new lives.

“It is so necessary because it’s such a tiny little group that needs a lot of extra care,” said Andrea Skowlund.

Skowlund is a nurse educator at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, Wisconsin.

“The closest NICU is BayCare,” she said, referring to the neonatal intensive care unit at Aurora BayCare in Green Bay.  That’s at least a :45 minute drive, even by ambulance.

“So, if we get a baby that needs NICU care, our nurses are ready to stabilize and care for that baby until we can get the NICU team and get the baby transported safely,” Skowland explained.

Those nurses are ready, thanks in big part to the state-of-the art simulation center at Aurora BayCare that offer’s hands-on specialty training…

“Being able to train what was once kind of the untrainable,” explained Skowland. “Emergency situations, being able to be in it and act in it.”

…for the most fragile patients.

“Our micro-preemie simulator allows us to use the special tools and equipment we need when we are focusing on stabilizing those babies,” said Aurora BayCare nurse educator Edelyn Cash.

Cash says the term “micro-preemie” refers to babies born weighing less than two pounds. For a patient that tiny, nurses need to know a whole new set of medical guidelines.

“That’s actually so complex because they’re so tiny that meds are different, even the amount of air you put into their lungs is different,” explained Skowlund. “Everything is on such a minute scale and can change with the ounces of the baby that it’s really such a specialty in itself.”

That’s where the ability to simulate those situations can show new nurses some things no amount of book learning can teach.

“It helps you kind of tame your emotions,” Skowlund described.  “In emergent situations, even when you’re prepared, the first time you enter an emergency of any kind your body’s going to respond.  We can’t simulate all of that, but we can get pretty close.”

Getting pretty close in simulation means ultimately, patient care is right on target

“With that practice on our simulators comes that translation over to safe patient care and better outcomes for our babies in the long run, which is what we’re ultimately looking for,” Cash said.

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