Sacramento State News - California State University, Sacramento
New patient in Nursing is no dummy
students attend to SimMan, the high-tech simulated patient new to the
program this year.
a new patient for students in the Division of Nursing to attend to. His name
is Larry, and as he lies on the table he occasionally groans, “I don’t feel
good.” A monitor shows his heart rate and blood pressure. He gets poked, prodded,
stabbed, has wounds dressed, goes into cardiac arrest and is administered CPR.
But don’t feel too sorry for what the poor guy has to endure—he’s a life-size,
high-tech simulated patient mannequin.
simulated patient—is new to the Division of Nursing this year,” says department
chair Ann Stoltz. “It has realistic anatomy and the capacity to have bodily
fluids, and heart and breathing sounds, and it can respond to treatment in some
of the same ways an actual living patient would.”
Nursing faculty—eight in all—were sent to a training facility in Texas for three
days to learn how to work with the simulated patient. “It’s more responsive
than the other simulated patients we have in the division,” says Stoltz. “If
treatment is rendered incorrectly in a simulated life-threatening situation,
the ‘patient’s’ system crashes. It’s as close to real-life situation as we’ve
ever had here.”
Nursing professor Debra Brady is one of the faculty members trained to work
with SimMan. She conducts clinical classes in which her students work directly
with the simulated patient.
“SimMan’s name changes daily,” says Brady. “Today his name is Larry. A while
ago it was Mel Gibson.”
And the mannequin is lifelike enough to earn a name, given his human tendencies.
Brady can, with a click of a mouse, have Larry say things such as, “No, I don’t
have diabetes,” “I am not allergic to any medications,” or, “That helped.” He
also coughs, groans and sneezes. His chest rises and falls with each breath
“It’s a highly effective teaching tool for the students,” says Brady. “He’s
so realistic that the students are excited and engaged. My teaching time is
really maximized because they live the experience, instead of hearing about
it in a lecture. It gives them valuable clinical experience, and they can make
mistakes without doing the patient any harm.
“We practice several real-life trauma situations. This morning he had several
stab wounds, and the students were able to stabilize him. This afternoon, he
had a bad reaction to medication and went into cardiac arrest. Because of the
students’ lack of experience, these are not situations they would get hands-on
experience with in a real hospital.”
After the students administer care and the simulated patient is stabilized,
they gather around a white board for a debriefing of the situation. The strengths
and weaknesses of the treatment are written down and analyzed, and the students
discuss what could have been done differently to provide better care.
“The simulated patient is fantastic,” says Kathleen Cabe, a nursing student.
“Today is the first day I’ve worked with it. It’s so realistic. I can assess
a situation as its happening. It also is a better use of time. In a hospital,
we have to wait for something to happen to get experience.”
The simulated patient is new this year due to the increased funding the Division
of Nursing received from the Chancellor’s Office to admit a larger number of
students to the program and provide state-of-the-art training to its students.
The University’s nursing program is highly competitive and has an exceptional
graduation rate—95 percent.
Larry, for one, certainly appreciates the excellent care he gets from the nursing
students. “Thank you,” he says. “That helped.”
For more information, contact Sacramento State’s Division of Nursing at (916)
278-6525. For media assistance, contact the Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.
State University, Sacramento Public Affairs
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 (916) 278-6156
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