Meet the SimMan 3G manikin. It can cry, bleed, drool, convulse, wink, have a heart attack, breathe—practically anything a human can do except sue for malpractice—a nice benefit when you consider his most important job: helping teach future nurses at MSU Denver.
The Nursing Deparatment just received SimMan and students will start sticking, poking, feeling, analyzing, healing and saving him over and over again this fall.
The human simulator is remarkably realistic and its arrival heralds a new high-tech era for nursing education at MSU Denver.
“This is state-of-the-art and it offers our nursing students the chance to use their skills and procedures in a scenario that represents real life very closely,” says Barbara Nelson, chair of the Department of Nursing. “What better way to prepare them for the realities they’ll soon face than to let them to practice complex interactions before they really happen?”
A company called Laerdal Medical makes the SimMan manikin, which goes for about $90,000. MSU Denver was able to buy it courtesy of a grant from Caring for Colorado, a nonprofit that focuses on health care in Colorado.
Instructors and students alike agree the manikin offers a close approximation of real life. SimMan will become students’ go-to patient where they can practice everything from CPR to controlling bleeding to administering drugs, and faculty will be able to check the appropriateness of all their work via a computer. Instructors can also pre-program SimMan to exhibit symptoms of a range of ailments that students then have to diagnose and treat.
“These simulations give the students a chance to learn how to care for patients in all kinds of settings, they help prevent medical errors, they promote discussion on procedures and they allow instructors to give students feedback on their performance,” Nelson says.
Shawn Anderson, the simulation laboratory coordinator in the Nursing Department, says SimMan helps students because it lets them to develop critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills in a “patient safe” environment.
“Using the SimMan gives the student the luxury of time to figure out the answer without compromising a real human life,” Anderson says. “It also provides students with experiences that are not guaranteed in the real hospital setting.”
Anderson says she’s most impressed by how the SimMan can mimic human physiologic responses to disease and treatment. “The eyes dilate and respond to light, he has a pulse, a heart rate and his blood pressure can change with treatments, he sweats and cries tears. He’s amazing.”
The Nursing Department has also updated other manikins with new technology that increases their simulation capabilities, and it added new audio-visual equipment to record student performance and conversations during practice.
To view a video on SimMan, visit the Laerdal Medical website.
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