They talk, they bleed, they vomit and they have real needs just like any patient would. However, they aren’t your typical patients. Instead, they are simulation mannequins that are designed to teach students how to care for and diagnose real patients.
On Friday, professors from the Louise Herrington School of Nursing hosted a simulation event for students at Teal Residential College to give students a chance to learn from mannequins.
“We want to engage Teal Hall residents [who are studying] nursing, engineering, computer science, premed and biology, so we can all engage together,” said Kelly Rossler, an assistant professor at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing.
The mannequins are realistic simulators that mimic human-patient interactions and give students a chance to learn how to treat patients properly.
“Students can practice things on a mannequin that they would not otherwise be able to practice on a person,” Rossler said. “We are creating a safe and caring environment for students to start learning novice skills and putting theory content into practice.”
While these simulation mannequins are typically used to teach nursing and medical students, both Rossler and Erin Killingsworth, a clinical assistant professor at the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, emphasized the importance of also engaging students from other STEM majors in these simulations.
In addition to practicing patient care, the mannequins also consist of engineering and computer science components with the wiring and programming it takes to make them life-like.
“We are also showing them how the mechanical side works so that students in medical professions can all work together to learn how to provide care in the hospital setting,” Rossler said. “Even though we have our own programs of development…we can all learn together in a scenario to practice and have better patient outcomes.”
The engineering and computer science aspects of these simulators are constantly being researched so the mannequins can be developed to meet the needs of hospitals and nurses who are using them to practice.
“We are serving our community by being able to develop such high technology and innovation to be able to work safely in an educated setting,” Rossler said.
Killingsworth said students were excited about the simulations and were eager to learn more from the mannequins.
Corpus Christie junior Rose Johnson was one of the students who attended the simulation and said it was a good way to get students engaged in the industry.
“It makes it more of a reality for students deciding on their major and it’s great to get hands on experience and getting to see them up close,” Johnson said.
Most importantly, bringing simulations like these to campus can help prepare students for their careers down the road.
“This is absolutely what they are going to be doing when they are out in the healthcare professions,” Killingsworth said. “We can make sure they are ready to enter into the real -world setting and it gives them the confidence and skill set to reinforce their [career] decision.”
Johnson said it felt like she was in a simulation lab and was able to ask as many questions as she wanted to become familiar and comfortable with the different aspects of the mannequins.
“This is a safe learning environment, and we are in this together because we want [them] to be the best nurse practitioners [they] can be, and we want to help [them] on that journey,” Killingsworth said.