'ER' comes to life in ultra-real varsity lab

03 September 2014 - 02:06 By Poppy Louw
HANDS-ON: A hi-tech laboratory opened at the University of Johannesburg yesterday. Students will get experience in simulated ambulance and emergency rooms and an ICU
HANDS-ON: A hi-tech laboratory opened at the University of Johannesburg yesterday. Students will get experience in simulated ambulance and emergency rooms and an ICU
Image: MOELETSI MABE

Students at the University of Johannesburg say their new medical simulation laboratory has reignited their passion for their future professions in healthcare.

"The lab is so lifelike. We will now look like we know what we are doing when we get into the real world," said third-year nursing student Nomzamo Caluza.

"A real medical room with its advanced equipment can be scary, but this lab will help with skills we need so as not to be overwhelmed by the environment," she said.

Caluza is one of 1200 UJ health sciences students who will train in the R20-million hi-tech laboratory unveiled at the Doornfontein campus yesterday.

The laboratory, equipped with the latest medical equipment and diagnostic devices from Phillips, is said to be the first facility of its kind at a South African university.

It is divided into four wards and six sections: two ambulance simulation rooms, an emergency department representing a casualty simulation, a general ward, an intensive care unit and skills station - each with a set of "real-life" mannequins, which breathe, sweat and bleed.

The equipment in the ambulance simulation rooms includes two pre-hospital defibrillators, transport monitors, ventilators and an ultrasound device.

The head of the university's emergency medical care department , Dr Craig Lambert, said that until recently, staff and students learned in classrooms.

He emphasised the importance of a fully incorporated curriculum with simulation as a key component of teaching and assessment.

An information system in the ICU with notification software, monitors "patients" from a central location in the unit.

"This equipment will contribute to ensuring we come out with a greater understanding and qualification," first-year emergency medical care student Werner Norval said.

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