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College of the Mainland
New SIM patients at COM Nursing
News Release
Monday, May 16, 2011

College of the Mainland Nursing Lab recently admitted two new patients for students to nurse back to health. The new patients are interactive technologically-advanced manikins that allow learners to practice emergency treatments.

The SimMan can talk, blink, breathe, has a pulse and can even cry. The instructor talks through a microphone and the sim speaks in its own voice. The instructor also hears what is going on through microphones in the sim’s ears. The new sim allows students to put in chest tubes, central lines, perform CPR and take the sim’s pulse. A computer can show how well the students are performing CPR. “The sim is so life-like and gives students a great hands-on learning experience,” said Kathy Perkins, Skills Lab Coordinator.

The SimMan comes with a laptop that allows the instructor to change the parameters of the illness as students react and to follow the treatments administered. The sim can display different illnesses, from a mild fever all the way to severe internal injuries. Students must react to the changing problems that occur. Due to of the ability to change the parameters, no lab group sees the same ailments. “These manikins allow the instructors to change the conditions of the sim as the students react. It really keeps them on their toes,” said Perkins.

The other new patient is the SimBaby. The baby can turn blue, cry and even cough. The instructor can make the baby vomit, turn its lips blue or make the heart rate disappear, all through a handheld PDA unit. The baby has a soft spot on its head so students can check if the fontanel is sunken or raised. If the fontanel is sunken it may indicate the baby is dehydrated, if bulging it may indicate intracranial pressure. The nursery is set up to be as realistic for the students as possible. “The SimBaby looks real and watching it from a distance you start to wonder if it really is a manikin,” said Perkins.

Before students begin their lab assignment they are given the medical conditions the sim has or what problems the baby was born with. This allows them to do some research or look up medications before they start the simulation. Each lab group has a different scenerio to keep it on its toes and keep the lab interesting. Instructors try to use all the information from the classroom to teach the students real life instruction of the learned techniques. There are typically four to five lab students working with a sim at a time. This allows all the students to access the situation and be hands-on with the sims. “Students really enjoy working with the simulators. They get to use the classroom work and textbook information to try to solve a situation,” said Perkins.

For the future, the lab is looking at integration with the EMT and firefighter training programs so that the manikins go through the entire process from rescue to hospital bed. This way all aspects of saving someone’s life can be interactive using the sims.

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