Simulator trucks to help rural health care education in Iowa

Published: Feb. 7, 2021 at 5:32 PM CST
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IOWA (KWQC) - The University of Iowa is improving access to health care by training providers in rural areas on emergency situations. The UI program will be using trucks with simulators inside to bring training to caregivers.

“We can take these trucks anywhere and we can provide clinical simulations for EMS providers and rural health care providers to practice their skills and work on their critical thinking and look at best practices for emergency situations that they may not see everyday,” says Jacinda Bunch, Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing.

The new program in Iowa will help train providers in rural hospitals so patients in those areas don’t have to travel far for specialized care.

“Because they don’t offer all services as much, they don’t see them as much. So this gives us a chance to take it there and they can provide care to the simulated patient and have the simulated patient respond in the way that a real patient would,” says Bunch.

Health care providers will have education brought to them in rural areas instead of needing to drive hours for training.

The trucks will look just like the inside of an emergency room so providers can practice in a real-life setting.

Bunch says, “So if you were to go to your local emergency department and they put you in a room, that’s what this is like.”

The program plans to travel to every county in Iowa to provide more access for underserved populations. Learning will be more hands-on using the simulators.

“You’re going to be taken care of by paramedics and EMT’s and we want them to have all the opportunities to practice those skills so they are really comfortable taking care of people,” says Bunch.

The simulator trucks are expected to start traveling around Iowa in the summer of 2022.

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