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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Mar 8, 2018
Recently, I experienced a ride in the back of an ambulance as a “patient” was being resuscitated, having had a “staged” cardiac arrest on the Naples campus of Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW).

A special experience for sure, but not what you might think, as I was just an observer of competent FSW Emergency Medical Technician students’ reviving a life-like training manikin, a medical avatar, in the “field” and then loading the “patient” onto the gurney while doing active CPR that included shocking the heart.  The rescue continued with transportation in an EMS vehicle owned by FWS and used only for training purposes. 


With lights blazing, sirens blaring, and adrenaline pumping, we then quickly off-loaded into a mock ER room that is part of the Allen and Marla Weiss Health Sciences Hall, which has educated thousands of health professionals since 2010.  The ER equipment, furnishings, monitors, headboards, computers, and size were almost identical to NCH’s. 


In this case, the medical avatar substituted for a real patient, but everyone stayed focused including the faux ER physician (an FSW Nursing Professor) who joined the student RNs while performing CPR.  More medications were administered along with few more shocks, good airway control, and chest pumping.  Our avatar miraculously regained a heartbeat, picked up blood pressure, remained groggy, and started moaning.  Everyone felt good about the drill and was exhausted, including me albeit vicariously. 


Normally, students and teachers will rerun the scenario that was video recorded to review what went right and where opportunities exist.  We all benefit when our care-givers experience real scenarios without having to learn on actual patients. 


Southwest Florida is very fortunate to have had well established nursing and healthcare training programs for decades.  FSW in Naples graduates about 20 to 30 RNs twice a year.  FGCU has had a nursing program since 1997.  Hodges is developing an RN program.  Lorenzo Walker has been educating high school students to become Clinical Technicians for decades.  NCH pays tuition at the state level for colleagues who have worked with us full time for one year.  For many years Southwest Florida has been a net exporter of RNs.  We still have folks join our team seasonally and have openings for some specialty nursing positions.


Just as outstanding healthcare is essential for a thriving community, so is education.  Other equally impressive simulation centers in our region include NCH’s Baker Campus and FGCU’s Marieb College of Health and Human Services.  NCH’s Internal Medicine Residents practice on avatars as they begin the first year of post-medical school experience. 


From viewing a rescue in the “field,” to riding in an EMS rig, and most importantly watching healthcare students learn their professions, one has confidence in our future.  These students are becoming the folks who will help all of us live longer, happier, and healthier lives.


P.S.  DO YOU HAVE A COLLEAGUE OR FRIEND WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN UPDATES?  Please enter their email address at, and we will add them to our complimentary mailing list.  

Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.