Visitors to NAIT‘s Centre for Applied Technology can often hear a siren and see flashing lights coming from one of the classrooms. It’s led to some double takes, but staff and students say it’s the best way to learn.
The Edmonton post-secondary institution has acquired Canada’s only ambulance simulator. Custom-built for NAIT by SimLeader, the vehicle looks and sounds like a regular ambulance, but it has no wheels. Instead, the box sits on a motion platform, which shakes and moves it in sync with traffic video on screens in the windows.
“When we’re practising IVs… we have to stabilize ourselves, just like we would in a regular ambulance on our way to the hospital,” said Richard Reyes, a paramedic student.
The patient is a high-tech mannequin that moves and even speaks. Before the technology arrived in the fall of 2016, paramedic students had to wait until their practicums to use their skills in an ambulance.
“Students (now) go out better prepared,” said Kerri Oshust, simulation director of NAIT’s School of Health and Life Sciences.
“Students have a better understanding of stressful situations before they go out to the clinical setting, which ultimately is better for the patient.”
The ambulance is part of the institute’s new 6,000-square-foot simulation centre, which also houses an ambulance driving simulator and an emergency room with more medical mannequins. The centre helps to train students in 14 health-related programs.
“There’s less of a harsh contrast between in the class and in real life,” said Hope Laberge, a Combined Lab and X-Ray Technology student.