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Charitable donation helps nurses treat the smallest of patients

Charitable donation helps nurses treat the smallest of patients

The nursing staff at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital are learning about emergency pediatric care with help from a baby named Owen.

Although Baby Owen responds to an actual examination and displays heart and lung sounds, he's not a real baby. He's a simulated manikin, and through his actions, teaches nurses to effectively recognize and respond to critically ill pediatric patients.

Owen is part of a $73,000 charitable gift used for nursing education from former Chambersburg residents, Ronald and Ruth Hartman.

Thanks to their gift, funds through the Dr. Owen Wister and Marie Mason Hartman Endowment will be used for pediatric and maternal health nursing education in memory of Ronald's parents, Dr. Owen and Marie Hartman, who were long-time residents of Chambersburg.

Dr. Hartman established the region's first pediatric practice in 1948, where he cared for children until he retired in 1990. He treated thousands of children, often working tirelessly through the middle of the night during emergencies, Ronald Hartman said. Marie, who was a trained nurse, supported her husband's dedication to his patients and the community.

WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital played a central part in all their lives. The sim baby is a way to give back to the hospital his dad loved, Ronald explained.

"Our main reason for the contribution was to honor my father and mother for all the contributions that dad made to the hospital," he said. "It provides a means for the hospital to accomplish additional objectives and makes the hospital better, which both Dad and Mom would support."

Donations like those that funded the new sim manikin allow WellSpan staff to continue to provide the best quality care to its patients.

"I was very excited to find out we were getting a sim manikin and I am very, very thankful to the Hartman family and their donation," said Melissa Rhone, RN, clinical educator, WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital.

Owen provides hands-on training that simulates real life

With the use of a sim pad, nurses go through various scenarios with Owen. They train in real-life code situations so  they are better prepared for real pediatric emergencies at WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, Melissa explained.

From head to toe, Owen can simulate an actual critically ill pediatric patient as nurses effectively examine and respond to the baby's needs. He blinks, cries, moves his limbs, and even gets the hiccups.

"Before (the sim manikin), we walked through scenarios and discussed treatments of the baby," she said. "Now, we have the opportunity to build scenarios so that nurses tell us the treatment they are doing, and I can make the manikin respond immediately."

Nurses check his pulse, listen to his lung and heart sounds, and determine if he could have asthma, an allergic reaction, an enlarged liver, or if he's in respiratory failure.

Typically, mandatory training like this takes place annually on borrowed equipment. Now, the new state-of-the-art sim baby allows for nurses to increase their training and hone their crisis skills with mock codes throughout the year, Melissa said.