Innovative training saving lives for Le Bonheur patients

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Le Bonheur Children's Hospital's cardiac surgery nurses discovered new virtual training software that immensely improved the quality of life for their patients.

"The hospital had seen an increase in central line infections," said cardiac surgery R.N. Julie Nicol, "And our floor has gone almost two years without one and this was something implemented in the process."

The four-dimensional software looks much like a video game and asks the cardiac nurses to perform procedures, specifically central line dressings, step-by-step. If not performed correctly in the virtual world, it could cause complications just like in the real world.

"The idea would be if you had a patient where you were going to go in, maybe perform a dressing change, you could jump on here quick and rehearse, in a way, what you're going to do before you go in and actually do it to the patient," said Nicol, who played a role in bringing the software to Le Bonheur through her graduate project.

The innovation is proving contagious.

As they see a 48-percent increase in brain cancer patients, Le Bonheur's Neuroscience Institute and Neuro ICU nurses believes the same software could help their patients as well.

"With that volume increasing, it's very critical that we have nurses being able to be trained in a life-like situation to become the caliber of the nurses and folks that we already have on this floor for the next kids coming in," said Michelle Connors, Director of Development for the Le Bonheur Foundation, who serves as liaison for the Neuroscience departments.

Common procedures for these patients, that can malfunction and cause more problems for patients, are shunt placements.

"It's the pressure that's on the brain with that extra fluid that causes issues," said Connors, "And if a shunt either becomes clogged or is malfunctioning, that it's not keeping the pressure off the brain which is critical for these young babies and children. It basically saves their life."

She added that having the virtual training software for Neuroscience nurses to help before performing shunt placements would allow them to know exactly what to do without any hesitation.

The Go Lucy Go Dinner and Silent Auction on Tuesday, Oct. 22 will raise money for the Neuroscience nurses to purchase this virtual training software.

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