February 28, 2011

Founders of Doctors Hospital, Inc. Provides Patient Simulators for Health Sciences Students

Human patient simulators, or teaching mannequins, are important learning tools for health sciences students at Rogers State University.

Now more than ever, the simulators, often referred to as "hospital dummies," play a key role in helping RSU nursing and emergency medical services (EMS) students learn basic care and life support skills, without the fear of injuring a live patient.

"Gaining access to hospitals and clinics to provide our students with practical experience is becoming more challenging," said Dr. Nancy Diede, Head of the RSU Department of Health Sciences. "Hospital personnel are busier, patient acuity has increased, the length of time patients' are hospitalized has decreased.

"Additionally, some facilities have closed units due to the recent economic crises which have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of elective procedures and surgeries being performed. This has led many EMS and nursing education programs to incorporate patient simulation as one approach to provide students with ‘near realistic' learning situations," she said.

Recently, the Founders of Doctors Hospital, Inc. provided funding for two human patient simulators, or "dummies," one for nursing students and one for EMS students.

"They have proven extremely successful in bridging the gap between the classroom and clinical rotations," Diede said.

The mannequins will help RSU provide valuable and realistic clinical experiences to nursing and EMS students in campus labs.

Several types of mannequins are available, and these mannequins are "the best," according to Diede.

"A basic mannequin used for practicing cardiopulmonary resuscitation is considered a ‘low-fidelity' simulator. A mannequin that has breath and heart sounds, but no other movement, is classified in the ‘moderate-fidelity' range.

"However, mannequins that have both breath and heart sounds, eyelids that open and close spontaneously, eyes with pupils that constrict and dilate, palpable bilateral pulses, normal and abnormal bowel sounds, extremities with a full range of motion, and the capability of speech, are referred to as ‘high-fidelity' mannequins. These are the type of mannequins that the Founders of Doctors Hospital has provided for our students," she said. "We are so grateful to them for providing our students with this opportunity."

Both new models are realistic in size, at approximately six feet and two inches tall and 100 pounds. Each comes with extensive features, including interchangeable male and female genitalia and capabilities designed specifically for nurses and paramedics.

Since 1990, the Founders of Doctors Hospital Inc. has provided a significant amount of funding for RSU to purchase computers and laboratory equipment for its health sciences programs, as well as enhancing faculty development and research.

As a result, RSU has contributed 548 registered nurses and 120 paramedics to the workforce in the last 10 years, significantly contributing to the health and quality of life of Oklahomans, Diede said.