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Gadsden State’s DMS program adds ultrasound training simulators

Above: Rebecca Southern, right, director of Gadsden State’s DMS program, works with student Naomi Smith of Anniston on “Bob,” the new abdominal and cardiac manikin-based ultrasound simulator at the College’s Valley Street Campus.

Gadsden, Ala. – The Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at Gadsden State Community College has enhanced its training capabilities with the addition of two ultrasound simulators to the labs located at the Valley Street Campus. The simulators, which are on a manikin-based system, are known as Bob and Catherine.

“Our students are used to scanning live patients in our school lab, but few of them have any abnormalities,” said Rebecca Southern, DMS program director. “Bob and Catherine let the students see abnormalities under our guidance so they can identify certain pathologies.”

The high-fidelity ultrasound training simulators facilitate the learning processes for cardiac, lung, abdominal and obstetrics/gynecology all on one platform.

“They assist in teaching the skills for ultrasound probe handling, image interpretation, diagnoses and clinical decision-making,” she said.

“Bob” assists in teaching students both transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography. He also helps them learn to perform abdominal scans.

“Bob has 109 different pathologies for the students to view and access, including aneurysms, masses and tumors,” Southern said. “He can have gallstones, valve issues, hernias. There are so many opportunities for our students to find, identify and label pathologies.”

“Catherine” teaches the students how to perform obstetric and gynecologic ultrasound exams using an endocavity probe or a transabdominal probe. She has 41 pathologies.

“Through Bob and Catherine, our students can see organs, tissues and vessels as well as potential pathologies,” she said. “This is a great way for our students to learn sectional anatomy. They are learning how these organs are layered in the body and better understand their relationship to one another on the ultrasound image.”

The ultrasound training simulators are produced by CAE Vimedix, a global company that offers integrated education and training solutions to healthcare students.  David Wildermuth, a company representative, said Gadsden State is one of only a few community colleges nationwide to use their product.

“While about 20 other community colleges use Vimedix, Gadsden State is the only community college that has the fully-loaded Vimedix simulators with all of our modules that can be used across multiple specialties,” he said.

Southern is excited to have the $140,000 simulators that have allowed her to use a pathology learning platform that is transferrable to the classroom or an online teaching environment if necessary.

 “The DMS program at Gadsden State has only been in existence for three years, but we have been able to secure some of the best ultrasound equipment available to colleges and universities,” she said. “And, it’s paying off. We have had three graduating classes, with successful outcomes, in which our graduates are making a positive impact in the sonography industry.”