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Nursing Department acquires new manikins

Huntington, Ind.-Huntington University's Department of Nursing has acquired 11 manikins for the lab and clinical classes. Junior nursing majors will be the first to use them in the fall of 2009.

"The purpose of the manikins for the nursing and medical fields is to simulate the true clinical experience," said Kelly Barlow, nursing lab coordinator. "Higher numbers of nursing students in hospitals make obtaining clinical nursing experiences more challenging. In addition, we now have the ability to practice and prepare extensively in the nursing lab ahead of time with the manikins. This increases the nursing students' competence and self-confidence prior to the hospital clinical experience, which is a huge advantage."

Of the 11 manikins at the Nursing Department's disposal, four are VitalSims, one is a SimMan, and the remaining six manikins serve more basic functions than the others.

The four VitalSims, one male, one female, one infant and one child, all are equipped to be as lifelike as possible. Each one, when plugged in, resorts to the default setting and begins to make respiratory sounds and has a heartbeat and stomach gurgles. As the instructor changes the settings, different scenarios can happen. The manikin can have high blood pressure, the respiratory sounds of a person with pneumonia, stitches, and a myriad of other symptoms of various illnesses and diseases.

The VitalSims manikins are programmed so that students can give full head-to-toe assessments. They also have the capability to give students the experience of performing procedures including, but not limited to, catheters and intravenous therapy.

SimMan is similar to the VitalSims but more sophisticated. SimMan can do everything that the VitalSims can do and more. He will be hooked up to all the typical monitoring devices that one would see in a hospital setting, each monitoring an actual function of SimMan, including heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and more.

The purpose of SimMan is for students to work with him in simulated scenarios. SimMan has set scenarios and has the option of new scenarios being programmed into him. These scenarios simulate real-to-life timeframes and situations to which students will respond. For instance, during one scenario, a student may be performing a routine procedure when suddenly, SimMan's blood pressure will spike. The students must make rapid decisions and perform the necessary procedures to stabilize the manikin, or he may simulate a stroke that the student will then have to respond to as well. SimMan is so advanced that his settings allow students to "save him" or "kill him."

The remaining six manikins are less sophisticated but still useful for training. Each one allows students to become accustomed to performing sterile procedures, moving patients in beds, helping patients to the shower and restroom, as well as other basic nursing functions.

Junior nursing majors will begin clinical and lab procedures in the fall of 2009 with an anticipated graduation date of May 2011.