Sim Baby?

Unique training comes to Central Montana Medical Center
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

CMMC representatives perform a baby-delivering simulation, helping specialized mannequin Lucy deliver a baby in the “SIM MT” van. From right to left, OB nurse Chris England, EMT LaShawna Johnson, respiratory therapist Liza Mestes, RN Karen Weinheimer and maternity nurse Sophie Luoma share a laugh during their training July 10.

Photo by Charlie Denison


Traveling home to Great Falls after visiting her mother in Circle, Lucy started to panic. 


Approaching Lewistown, she knew what she had to do: head to the Central Montana Medical Center to have her baby.

But Lucy wasn’t placed in an emergency room. Instead, she was placed in a truck behind the hospital that belongs to Simulation in Motion Montana, Inc., a non-profit entity focused on “quality immersive education.”

Lucy didn’t mind being a training exercise for registered nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians, physicians and others. After all, she wasn’t on her way to Great Falls, doesn’t have a mother in Great Falls, and is no ordinary patient. In fact, she’s not even human. Lucy is a mannequin – a mannequin in labor – brought to Lewistown by Best Practice Medicine Director of Education Joe Poole and Simulation Specialist Ben Griffith.

Last week these men introduced several CMMC employees to Lucy and other mannequins and guided them through training sessions. They made up Lucy’s back-story and gave her some personality.

“She’s got sass,” said Griffith. “You’ll see.”

For OB Nurse Chris England, the experience was a little surreal.

“This is about as close to real life as it gets,” said England. “Of course, everyone has a different tolerance. There is usually more interaction and more body movements, but it’s an impressive exercise. I strongly recommend it.”

Helping a mannequin give birth was a strange experience for England and others involved. Lucy communicated with the nurses, her voice sounding surprisingly like Griffith’s, and she also screamed – each scream sounding surprisingly similar.

Lucy was hooked up to IVs and a monitor. It looked like the real deal, and CMMC employees tried to treat it as such, albeit they couldn’t help but laugh at times, especially when the baby got stuck.

“That freaked me out a little bit,” England said. 

This ended up being a minor conflict, as Griffith jumped in to assist, and Lucy delivered her twelfth baby of the week.

Working with the CMMC employees was a pleasure, Poole said, adding that he’s enjoyed each group he’s had from clinic to clinic, a tour made possible by funding from Helmlsey Charitable Trust, 

Poole and Griffith – both critical care specialists for a number of years – don’t take this opportunity for granted. 

“It’s our goal with Best Practice Medicine to improve emergency medical education,” said Poole. “We couldn’t be prouder to share our training around the state. We love Montana and we believe in what SIM MT has to offer.”

Poole and Griffith are on the road three to five days a week, traveling to Butte, Anaconda, Glendive, Livingston and elsewhere. 

“We want to give people the opportunity to train with their colleagues, “ Poole said. “It’s important to us to come to them. Working as a team is a big part of the experience.”

It’s also supposed to be fun, Poole added.

“If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing,” he said.

CMMC Clinical Education Coordinator Lisa Ash said the training exercises weren’t just fun; they were also informative.

“The goal is to help enhance quality patient care in our community,” Ash said. “This type of training is intended to increase competence levels and allow practice of a team-approach delivery of care. Learning experiences that combine the innovations of technology with specialized live instruction is a great way to learn.”

Ash said those who participated in the training greatly enjoyed it.

“It was very well received,” she said. “I have heard nothing but very positive comments from the staff members. Staff felt as though they learned not only from the simulation team but also from other members of the CMMC staff. The staff was grateful to participate in such a great ‘hands-on’ experience.”

First responders from outlying communities also attended some of the trainings. 

For more information on SIM MT, go to



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