Haywood Community College Nursing students got a boost to their classroom and learning experiences recently with the addition of a SimMan to their curriculum. SimMan is a Human Patient Simulator that is a full size mannequin. The SimMan can react to common procedures to allow students to see if they are preforming correctly. SimMan, manufactured by Laerdal, has a heartbeat, pulse, and can speak and breathe.

“There is so much students can do with this simulator. The computer can even detect whether a student is giving a full breath on ventilations,” explains HCC Nursing instructor and graduate Michael Youngwood.

Instructors control SimMan at nearby computers and can use the simulator in a variety of patient care scenarios that mirror what healthcare providers can expect in caring for real patients. Educators can adjust its heart beat and blood pressure, change its respiration pattern, cause its tongue to swell, and make it talk, all with the punch of button on a keyboard.

Students can perform procedures such as CPR, administering intravenous medication, intubation, ventilation, and catheterization. From their execution of these procedures, instructors can easily evaluate their performance. SimMan features touch sensitive screens, a web cam, microphone and speakers built in the ears. SimMan evens weighs as much as an average person.

 “It is a great teaching tool,” says HCC Nursing instructor Tammy Maney. “It bridges the gap from what students are allowed to do in hospitals and not allowed to do in hospitals. We can even run a scenario again if they didn’t do what they should have. It gives students that quality experience that is so important before they enter the field.”

The SimMan allows HCC nursing students a safe and less stressful environment to practice what will later become potentially life threatening situations in the field.

According to second year nursing student David Kelly, working with a SimMan is an opportunity to go through these situations as practice. “The more you practice, the more you learn. The more you repeat something, the more you learn.”  

While working with SimMan, students get the perfect opportunity to ask questions. It’s an opportunity that may not come their way on the job when a human life is in their hands.