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Nurses Hone Hands-On Skills at New Banner Simulation Center

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A new $12 million simulation center will help better prepare both recent graduates and experienced Banner Health nurses for crucial situations.

Banner Simulation Medical Center, the largest simulation center in the U.S. devoted to medical training, opened in Mesa, Ariz. in October with a goal of reducing medical errors, and using simulation training as a model for nurse recruitment and retention.

Rachel Hutchison, RN, (far right) receives hands-on training in the ER. Simulation Center Senior Manager Kelly Huffstetler, RN, and Simulation Specialist Jeff Flemmer, RN, will be training Banner’s more than 1,800 newly hired nurses annually.

The 55-bed “virtual hospital” boasts 72 computerized mannequins that can talk, breathe, bleed, and mimic several health issues. Nurses have the chance to perform a variety of tasks on the mannequins, including inserting IVs, treating heart attacks, and delivering breech births.

The simulation center is part of a $130 million project to remodel and repurpose the former Banner Mesa Medical Center.

Banner Health officials say the new facility has the capacity to train up to 1,875 nurses in 2009, tripling the number of nursing candidates previously trained via simulation at Banner annually.

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