High-tech patients educate nursing students

Students at the USC College of nursing are spending their class time now listening to and monitoring patients with major health issues. But they’re made of plastic and rubber.
The very high-tech fake patients are helping nursing students develop their abilities to prioritize care and make sound decisions.
The College of Nursing has an entire room full of manikin patients, and four of them actually interact with nurses, and their conditions can be changed by remote control by a computer operator. The high-fidelity manikin “SimMan” is controlled by Ben Card, Nursing College Director of Information Technology.   “We record the audio and video of the students.  We put it in a video portfolio.  That way they can review what they do and the instructors can work with them.”
The manikins not only have voice interaction, but also body functions, like blood pressure and bleeding. 
The manikin they call “Noelle” has a baby, over and over again, while she screams and tells students how much pain she’s in, and demonstrates problems associated with pregnancy. 
Nursing College Dean Peggy Hewlett says the USC simulation lab is only one of several such facilities which have been created by Health Sciences South Carolina initiative through the Center For Economic Excellence.
Hewlitt says the shortage of nurses is driven by a shortage of instructors and a lack of classroom space.  “So we have a statewide system that will allow us to standardize nursing curriculum across multiple schools, and help us address this teacher shortage we’re all facing in the state and across the US.” 
Other major simulation sites are located at MUSC, Clemson, Greenville Tech and the Greenville Hospital. 
USC will officially open the new nursing lab on Friday.
The USC College of Nursing currently has more than a thousand undergrad students and almost 200 graduate students, as well as 45 faculty and 50 part-time faculty. Students from USC Salkehatchie and USC Lancaster will train in the Columbia Clinical Simulation Lab once each semester.

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