- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) - Emotions ran close to the surface during the open house and blessing of the new Sister Leclare Beres Learning Resource Center at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare.

The sentiment flowed from the fact that the $1.1 million center is named for one of the city’s most revered health care icons - the late member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who was a longtime nursing educator and founder of the St. Clare Health Mission, which provides free health care for uninsured and underinsured people.

“This would be perfect for Sister Leclare,” St. Clare director Sandy Brekke said during a tour of the facility in Mayo-Franciscan’s Professional Arts Building, which housed the St. Francis School of Nursing from 1902 to 1970. “She was so devoted to students.”

During the dedication ceremony last Monday, Mayo-Franciscan official Joe Kruse became choked up when reminiscing about Beres and a picture of her on a mural caught his eye, the La Crosse Tribune (https://bit.ly/1VBtxwV ) reported.

In addition to developing the center, the chief administrative officer teared up as he said, “We also wanted to honor a treasure, Sister Leclare. She’s a treasure to us, and we wanted to honor her.

“I miss her,” Kruse said plaintively.

FSPA Sister Helen Elsbernd, vice president of the order, also referred to Beres as she gave a thumbnail history of the hospital, tracing to its founding in 1883.

When city officials asked the sisters to establish the hospital, “it was said that a doctor could carry all the tools he needed - and it always was ‘he’ then - in a little black bag,” she said.

Now, doctors - male and female - have giant machines and unlimited technology at their fingertips to help treat patients, she said.

Elsbernd recalled that Beres, who died in 2014 at the age of 88, used to marvel at the emerging technology and its capacity to improve patient care.

Among the technological aids that Mayo-Franciscan staffers and local nursing students will be able to use in the center are two patient simulators - lifelike mannequins programmed to mimic human traits.

“The star of the show,” as training center faculty member Bob Milisch labeled one mannequin, can speak, have seizures, perspire from the forehead and shoot pulsing blood from his severed leg, among other maladies to test the mettle of staff and students.

Named Gene or Jean, depending on the drill, the mannequin features male and female body parts - again, depending on the skill. Students are able to monitor blood pressure and breathing, with Gene/Jean’s lips turning blue when oxygen is too low, and adjust accordingly, Milisch said.

Jean/Gene’s neck can be made to swell so staffers can practice inserting breathing tubes through a small opening, he said.

Although the simulators, which include one that gives birth, are sophisticated, volunteer patients will be used for some exercises at the center, which the Franciscan Healthcare Foundation and other benefactors financed.

Gene/Jean also can be used to help train housekeeping staffers and other personnel how to respond if they are in a room and a patient says something or has a reaction to something, Milisch said.

The pregnant mannequin can monitor the mini-mannequin baby’s heartbeat and learn to deliver a breech infant or handle other complications, nursing education specialist Barb Reardon said during a demonstration.

Asked whether nurses don’t learn such skills in school, Reardon said, “They learn it, but they don’t always see the process. . Even in nursing school, folks can go through their whole rotation and don’t get to see a delivery.”

The simulation rooms have computers and viewing stations from which instructors can manipulate symptoms and guide people through each procedure needed.

Another sim room includes a mannequin to practice various procedures, as well as stations to practice using ultrasound to insert IVs and catheters, place a chest tube and even treat an ingrown toenail.

One plastic body part, used to teach how to treat bedsores, goes by the name of Seymour Butts, a moniker the vendor dreamed up, hospital officials said.

“Our business is taking care of people,” Kruse said before the blessing of the center. “This whole project is to help our staff get ready to take care of people.”


Information from: La Crosse Tribune, https://www.lacrossetribune.com

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