PLAINS – You are called to attend an emergency C-Section of a 26 week infant with an estimated fetal weight of 1900 grams. The mother has a history of high blood pressure, unbearable headaches and has been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. What would you do?
This is just one of the simplified scenarios students took part in at the event center at Clark Fork Valley Hospital during the Simply Neonatal Resuscitation Program. The residency program is sponsored by the University of Montana and works with three major hospitals in Montana: St. Patrick Hospital, Community Medical Center and Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
“They do their training at those three hospitals and the community health center in Missoula and they do all their electives out in rural communities,” Gregory Hanson, president and CEO of CFVH, said.
Hanson helped run the class and explained that the participants had all finished medical school and are now doing three years of training in family medicine. Fresh out of medical school, the students have a series of educational tasks to complete within their first month.
“We volunteer with some of the second year residency programs,” Hanson explained. “We volunteer to teach them this particular course here.”
The Neonatal Resuscitation Program was developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and is sponsored by the American Heart Association. The course helps introduce the concepts and basic skills of neonatal resuscitation.
Since the program was established in 1987, over three million individuals in the United States have been trained in NRP. The sixth edition of the program was released in 2011 and “is based on simulation methodology, enhancing development of critical leadership, communication and team work skills,” states the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website.
The participants were encouraged to think out loud during the exercise, asking the others around their table for assistance when needed. Together the groups worked through a variety of neonatal situations, determining what the best plan of action would be to help keep the baby alive and healthy.
“These are skills that are very real in terms of taking care of newborn babies that are having problems and so they get the opportunity to practice as much as they can practice without actually being there with a sick baby,” Hanson explained. “We try to make this as real for them as possible, so they have the skill set to take care of those babies.”
The one-day session at CFVH began by teaching the residents specific skills. At each table a “baby” was presented along with all the equipment needed to operate on the child. After learning a variety of different skills, the second half of the day aimed at allowing the residents to treat babies in a variety of different settings.
Although this was the beginning of their training outside of medical school, Hanson explained they will have additional training over the next couple weeks in Missoula, at which point the residents will then go work at the hospitals.
“It’s nice to have a training program in western Montana,” Hanson said.
Ten new residents took part in the training, while one additional new participant was new to the program, but entering his second year of training. Along with the residents, four facility members came to assist with the training, as did staff from CFVH.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the completion of NRP does not imply that an individual has the capability to perform neonatal resuscitation. Their website states that “each hospital is responsible for determining the level of competence and qualification required for someone to assume clinical responsibility for neonatal resuscitation.”