Nursing students have a new SimMan simulation mannequin to help prepare them to work with real patients.
The new SimMan will take his place beside an earlier model and SimBaby. Dr. Tammy Haley, associate professor of nursing and director of the program, said that the new mannequin was needed because the company that makes SimMan would no longer provide service or support to the older version.
However, the newer, wireless SimMan is definitely a step up, Haley and nursing students agree.
“The lung sounds on this new mannequin are more lifelike,” said Zach Hadfield, a nursing major from Kane, as he gave a demonstration.
“I love his eyes,” which can rotate and blink, said Mary Boser, assistant professor of nursing, who is often the faculty voice behind SimMan's, giving student nurses a list of symptoms to respond to while also controlling blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and more.
Dr. Jean Truman, associate professor of nursing, explained that the new mannequin has more places where students can palpate a pulse and lets students practice catheterization, running IVs and caring for chest tubes.
Christina Moore, also a nursing student from Kane working at the demonstration, said, “It puts a 'live' person in front of you.”
Faculty can expose students to more and more varied situations than a student nurse would ordinarily experience.
“My favorite scenario was when [a faculty member] collapsed a lung on us,” Moore said.
Hadfield said, “Sometimes we don't see people like this on the hospital floor.”
The simulation mannequins at Pitt-Bradford have their own lab. One room is set up as a hospital room. In a control room with one-way glass, a faculty member can observe while controlling the simulated patient.
For beginning nursing students, another faculty member can be in the hospital room guiding them. As the students become more experienced, they are left on their own to solve problems and to be evaluated by the professor behind the glass.
Professors also have the ability to record scenarios to play back to the students and show them where they did well or could improve.
Alumnus George Repchick '82 and his business partner, Bill Weisberg, donated the new mannequin to the nursing department.
The pair are co-owners of Saber Healthcare Group, which owns and operates more than 100 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in six states that employ more than 10,000 people.
Repchick said that Saber owns four of the mannequins for training purposes.