Dummies with heart

The nursing program at Red Deer College has added two eerily human-like pieces of technology to help train new nurses.

Red Deer College simulation lab co-ordinator Liz Sinclair

The nursing program at Red Deer College has added two eerily human-like pieces of technology to help train new nurses.

The college now has two human patient simulators, which both look a bit like an electronic and rubber version of a quarterback in terms of size and build.

The $100,000 pieces of equipment are able to cry, sweat and drool. They blink, have a heartbeat and a pulse — but no names at the moment.

The simulators can go into cardiac arrest, have a severe allergic reaction and make life-like bowel sounds.

In the past, the RDC nursing program has had simulators, but they were more like human-sized rubber dolls. Instructors could walk students through a scenario, but until now the simulators didn’t react to what students were doing.

With the two new human patient simulators, students can start an intravenous line, put in a catheter and deal with the simulators having a seizure or experiencing laboured breathing.

Sheila McKay, chair of the nursing program, said the simulators won’t replace but will augment the clinical learning that the students do in hospitals and care centres.

She said sometimes during their clinical time students don’t experience every possible scenario, but having the simulators means that they could.

McKay said students working on a surgical unit in a hospital might not witness certain rare post-operative complications, but with the simulators every student can have a chance to see signs that could suggest something is going wrong.

In other cases, it might be a matter of setting up a stressful situation for students so they don’t see it for the first time in an emergency room — something like a cardiac arrest or other trauma.

“A lot of students find that extremely stressful,” said Kathy Regehr, lab co-ordinator with the nursing program at RDC.

“It’s hard to learn on the fly. It’s not something you want to learn on the fly. We want to create as much patient safety as we can. So we can actually simulate a situation like that and make it as real as possible.”

Afterwards, instructors can go over what went well and what didn’t.

The human patient simulators will also allow students to see how they react in various situations — whether stressful or gross — before dealing with a real patient. The lab instructors have recipes to create what looks and smells like real vomit, urine, stool, mucus, blood and infected wounds.

“Our goal is to simulate the real situation as much as possible. What we intend to do is build as many things into the scenario as possible so that students suspend their disbelief,” said Liz Sinclair, the simulation lab co-ordinator at RDC.

The room, where the simulators are housed is set up to look like a hospital ward, with white walls and floor and tools that simulate equipment to take blood pressure, temperature, and scopes for eyes and ears.

Nursing instructors will be trained on the simulators over the next year, with the high-tech equipment being fully implemented into RDC’s nursing program by September 2010.

McKay said in the end, RDC wants student nurses to learn as much as they can before they finish their studies. “That’s the final outcome. We want to graduate people who are able to provide safe, competent care,” McKay said.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Person airlifted to hospital after collision near Innisfail

One person was airlifted to hospital after a serious collision west of… Continue reading

Sunny weather improves farmers’ prospects

A harvester kicking up dust. It’s a picture that will bring a… Continue reading

Rural transit pilot project being considered

Penhold, Innisfail and Red Deer County councils to decide whether to go ahead with project

Red Deer fire station up for sale

Home sweet home at Fire Station 4

‘Mom I’m in trouble:’ Canadian, Brit face 10 years in jail for alleged graffiti

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — The mother of a Canadian who was arrested… Continue reading

Coyote on the prowl near Penhold

This coyote was out on the prowl in a field just west… Continue reading

Sky’s the limit as Calgary opens testing area for drones and new technologies

CALGARY — The sky’s the limit as the city of Calgary opens… Continue reading

Hi Mickey, ‘Bye Mickey: 6 Disney parks on 2 coasts in 1 day

ORLANDO, Fla. — Heather and Clark Ensminger breathed sighs of relief when… Continue reading

Court weighs ‘Apprentice’ hopeful’s suit versus Trump

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s lawyers hope to persuade an appeals… Continue reading

StarKist admits fixing tuna prices, faces $100 million fine

SAN FRANCISCO — StarKist Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony… Continue reading

Annual pace of inflation slows to 2.2 per cent in September: Statistics Canada

OTTAWA — The annual pace of inflation slowed more than expected in… Continue reading

Jury finds Calgary couple guilty in 2013 death of toddler son

CALGARY — A jury has convicted a Calgary couple in the death… Continue reading

Most Read