STARS mobile education unit trains hospital staff

The STARS mobile education program visited Golden on Thursday last week to train doctors, nurses and licensed practical nurses.

The mobile unit is set up in a large RV, and visits rural communities in Alberta and B.C.

Its most recent stop in Golden trained medical staff from the Golden Hospital to treat cardiac patients and overdose patients, related to prescription medications.

“Basically what we do is we travel through rural Alberta and B.C., and we provide further education for rural hospital staff. We come to them,” explained STARS education leader Dave Allison said.

The world of medical training is constantly changing, Allison said, and STARS helps to facilitate training to keep health professionals up to date without the requirement of travelling.

The mobile unit is equipped with a human patient simulator that replicates medical and traumatic problems, and the interior of the motorhome replicates a large emergency room. At the stop in Golden, STARS trained 14 doctors, nurses, and LPNs in cardiac and overdose patients.

“We do training on medications that have more harmful effects,” Allison said, adding that the overdoses they were training for were mostly related to prescribed medication.

The training isn’t always the same, when the STARS unit comes to Golden. STARS educators try to come to Golden about once each year, and reach more remote communities every year or two.

“We tend to switch it up,” he said. “We do things like trauma related injuries, cardiac related injuries… you name it, we can pretty much cover it all.”

The human patient simulator was established in Alberta in 1999, and the mannequin speaks and breaths, blinks and has reactive pupils, has a heartbeat and pulse, and has accurate human responses to procedures like CPR, intravenous, intubation, ventilation, and catheterization.

“Education in medicine changes quite frequently. I think it helps to keep everybody current on certain topics, and be up on some of the new and improved things in medicine,” Allison said.

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