Violent encounters with patients are rare situations in the emergency room, but when it happens, it can escalate quickly.

Staff in Mayo Clinic Health System–Mankato's Emergency Department are stepping out of the hospital into a classroom setting.

Over several days, more than 100 employees from physicians and nurses to social workers and security personnel are running a simulation on how to de–escalate when an encounter with a patient turns violent.

Mayo Clinic Health System Southwest Region Nurse Administrator Danyel Germain said, "The situation that we're working on is trying to have our staff be very comfortable working with patients that become angry and upset."

Mayo Clinic Health System Southwest Region Director of Security Erik Odegard said, "Unfortunately, we see several of these situations, and so this practice here helps us to communicate, to get that constructive feedback and look at things we can do differently to help improve."

It's part of a more than $193,000 Department of Employment and Economic Development Job Skills Partnership Grant awarded to Mayo Clinic Health Systems–Mankato and MSU last year.

It's taking advantage of the state–of–the–art Simulation Center in the new Clinical Science Building.

MSU-Mankato College of Allied Health and Nursing Dean Kris Retherford said, "Better utilize the facilities that we have to offer with regional medical centers. We're fortunate to have this extraordinary new building and facilities for our students."

Actors serve the role of patients, while their encounter is monitored and recorded in the room next door behind a one–way mirror.

Germain said, "They can watch themselves after the event, and we do a very structured debriefing so they can reflect on they interacted with patients, interacted with the team members."

Danyel Germain says without the Simulation Center, this type of training would be harder in their hospital environment.

The MSU Simulation Center features several different settings including normal patient rooms, a birthing center and home care.

--KEYC News 12