Wednesday, October 1, 2014

EMT Mannequin Offers Realistic Training

They say practice makes perfect, and in a stressful medical situation, that adage couldn't be more true.

Paramedic students work on SimMan.

Through Vol State's Emergency Medical Technician program, students are able to practice and hone their medical skills with the help of the simulation labs and a hand from SimMan, a hyper-realistic simulation mannequin.

The closer paramedic students like Russel Houske are able to get to the real thing can make all the difference when stepping out into the field in order to save someone's life.

The SimMan — affectionately known as Bernie in the department — has the capability to sweat, cry, drool and bleed if taken through any number of emergency scenarios. The mannequin's chest rises and falls, and students are able to push medications through to see how the the patient would react. There's even a speaker, which relays responses to questions asked by students.

"It's actually going to be more like the setting that we'll be in — an ambulance or in the hospital setting. We can actually take the blood pressure. We can actually hear the beats. We can feel the pulse," Houske said.

Since a lot of of what he and his fellow students learn is through muscle memory, Houske said the mannequin gives him a chance to see how his performance as a paramedic is affecting all of the vital signs of the patient. That kind of training is extremely important for the field.

"You train like you fight, they say. So, it also offers a level of stress, and that's good because it helps you adapt to that as well," he said. "I'm very thankful for this. This is a wonderful piece of equipment.   It's a great tool. I think it will definitely benefit my career past here."

The EMT program has had SimMan since 2009. Since then, they have added a junior mannequin and an infant mannequin to the labs. All of these mannequins give students a wide variety of scenarios to work through based on the age of the patient.

Robert Davis, director of EMS education, said having the mannequins gives the program the upper hand when it comes to training students for their future careers.

"It really gives them an idea, because it's easy to do a procedure on a flaccid mannequin, but when you've got a mannequin that is breathing, it adds a whole different element to that scenario," he said.

The SimMan also has helped the department get noticed for its simulation training. For the second year in a row, Vol State's EMS Education program won the Best Educational Display at the Sumner Regional Medical Center Nursing Fair.

"We took him over there and set him up and let nurses go through different skills, and we were able to help them tweak some of the performance measures and help them out," Davis said.
EMT faculty stand with SimMan and their SRMC awards.

Want to see SimMan in action? Check out the video below.

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