FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Things were looking a little different on Blanchfield Army Community Hospital's Labor and Delivery and Mother Baby Unit recently. Nurse educators transformed a training classroom into a barnyard scene during their annual nursing skills fair.
"Our theme is called 'Cultivating Your Skills' and we're growing our knowledge between the two units," said nursing skills fair coordinator, Capt. Jessica Little, BACH's Mother Baby Unit clinical nurse officer in charge. "It's really our nursing skills that we're looking at and being able to take care of our patients, and readiness as far as those medical skills go."
Nursing skills fairs are commonly used in the healthcare industry to update nursing staff on the latest developments in nursing and review policies and procedures for patient care. It helps keep their skills fresh. At Blanchfield, coordinators decided to present the material in a way that would keep the staff engaged.
"We try to make it so that the staff are excited about this and want to get involved. It's fun for them. It's fun for us. It's something unique and different that we offer here for our staff members," said Little.
About 60 nurses from the units, both active duty and federal service employees, participated in the nursing skills fair, which was offered in a number of sessions over several days for both day and night shift.
The team members reviewed and walked through their responsibilities for emergencies, like cardiac or respiratory arrest, fire, and mass casualty. They learned about the latest information on the use of phototherapy for jaundice in newborns and a number of other topics related to mother and newborn care. The nursing skills fair also included Cozette, and baby Campbell, the hospital's computer controlled, full body mother and baby birthing simulator.
The simulator can be programed for any number of labor and delivery scenarios from routine to life threatening and allows the medical team to practice their skills and maintain readiness to provide the best patient outcomes possible. In this drill, the team responded to a rare but life-threatening childbirth emergency called an amniotic embolism which required the teams to work quickly to save the life of both mother and baby.
"This is important because things can happen and we want to make sure that during those high risk situations and those very rare instances we know what to do and we're trained and ready and we're prepared. So, if a mom does have an amniotic embolism, we have those skills and we know how to take care of them for that situation," said Little.
Participants agreed, practicing for rare pregnancy complications on the simulator strengthens their skills and confidence to respond.
"I think it's really good because we are able to see how we need to interact with our coworkers when an emergency happens and how we need to respond," said Jackie Cropper, a registered nurse on the hospital's labor and delivery unit. Cropper quickly sprang into action during the realistic training working to save the life of the simulated patient, performing chest compressions as her coworker performed respirations to save Cozette. "The more you practice it, the more comfortable you feel and know how to react to different situations," said Cropper.
The nursing skills fair is offered at the department level annually at Blanchfield in addition to the regular continuous medical training requirements nurses complete throughout the year.
Blanchfield staff help deliver more than 150 babies each month at its state-of-the-art Labor, Delivery and Recovery Unit. The hospital features seven labor suites and two labor and delivery operating rooms.
After recovery, mothers and new babies stay in one of the hospital's 20 private suites on the Mother Baby unit to continue their recuperation and medical treatment until they are ready to be discharged from the hospital.