SIM-NE trucks stocked with 'sim' drugs

by Kalani Simpson, UNMC public relations | July 13, 2017

Image with file name: SImdrugs0711.jpg

The Simulation in Motion Nebraska trucks (SIM-NE) have set out from UNMC to travel Nebraska's roads and help train personnel from rural emergency medical service agencies and rural critical access hospitals through high-tech simulation and real-life training experiences.

That includes simulation training on drugs and medications. And that's where the College of Pharmacy comes in.

"I was approached by Brian Monaghan and Douglas Dekker because they needed mock drugs for both the ambulance side of the SIM-NE and for the emergency room side of the SIM-NE," said Ally Dering-Anderson, Pharm.D., clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice. These would include drugs used for emergency treatment, and drugs that EMTs would find in a patient's home in cases of drug interaction or overdose.

"These are mostly injectable drugs used in emergencies," Dr. Dering-Anderson said. "Here's the catch -- we don't want to be injecting things into the SIM mannequins over and over or there may be a problem. So we decided to make only the containers, with no product inside."

But the same is true for "patient" drugs. "We can't use candies as faux drugs, because there's a risk they will be eaten!" said Dr. Dering-Anderson. She's learned that one from experience.

A lot of the work was done by former pharmacy student Michael Crowe, now a Class of 2017 Pharm.D.

"Michael was on rotation with me during February," Dr. Dering-Anderson said. "One of the assignments on my rotation is to complete a project that helps a public health entity. Michael chose the outreach work of the mobile SIM-NE program."

Dr. Crowe incorporated the SIM-NE logo on the "prescription" labels he made for drugs found in the patients' homes. But it was about more than just making labels.

"We identified 16 reasonably gender-neutral first names and built the drugs," Dr. Dering-Anderson said. "Everything from Cialis to birth control pills, to antihypertensives to pain therapy. Each patient can be customized to be male or female and have any of a number of conditions including depression, diabetes, hypertension, pain."

And, OK, it also was a little about making labels.

"I know pharmacists are sort of geeky about our labels," Dr. Dering-Anderson said, "but I think they're beautiful!"

One last thing -- Dr. Crowe thought to give each of these patients the hometown of "Helmsley, Neb." The SIM-NE trucks are funded by a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

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