The training exercise for third-year students is vitally important. “Having the ability to practice CPR in the third year of veterinary school allows students to be better prepared and respond swiftly if a patient experiences cardiopulmonary arrest during their clinical rotations [fourth year],” Fitcha said. “The experience with the RECOVER simulator is often the first exposure to CPR for many of our students. Having the opportunity to practice in a supported and fun environment helps learners integrate their knowledge before being in an emergency setting.”
Through Otto’s software, a variety of different scenarios can be run, giving students and other trainees a nearly unlimited variety of practice. And if the proper protocols aren’t followed and implemented correctly, Otto won’t make it. “She [Warren] told us, ‘He'll die if you guys aren't doing things right. He will die and he won't come back.’ So that's how you know you did everything right,” said Axenoff. “So that made me feel better, like I actually did my chest compressions right. Because I was wondering, ‘Am I actually doing this hard enough?’”
As Warren’s own experience as a veterinary caregiver attests, this varied practice pays off in real situations. “I can specifically remember a busy Friday night where we had two very critical patients go into cardiopulmonary arrest within a couple hours of each other. Both cases were very similar to each other prior to their arrest, but during their arrest event they responded very differently,” Warren said. “We performed CPR on both of them according to RECOVER standards, which allowed us to focus more on each patient as an individual and utilize our knowledge and critical thinking skills to provide them with the best care.”
Team by team, each group of students is run through the paces. Putting their knowledge gained from their RECOVER bookwork earlier in the academic term into practice. In one scenario, Otto’s been hit by a car and rushed to the ER. In another, he’s been sick with vomiting and diarrhea for more than 12 hours before being brought in for a checkup. And so on. For each scenario, the software adjusts his vitals and Otto responds accordingly as the students work.
“Watching each group of students problem solve, communicate with each other, and celebrate their successes left me with a sense of fulfillment and gratitude. Having the opportunity to be able to teach such an important skill and make such an impact on this class of students is something that I am grateful for to those who helped us get to this point,” Warren said.
Adds Fitcha: “Working with Kimmie to promote RECOVER CPR at the veterinary teaching hospital has been a highlight of my career and has helped remind me of the reason I became an instructor in the first place – to guide our veterinary students as we work collaboratively to improve patient outcomes.”