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Simulators doing their job to prepare students

December 2011

Graduates of our program can tell stories about how they had to act out certain health conditions for their classmates during practical examinations. They can also remember the near-Academy Award performances by certain faculty members while playing a patient during Grand Rounds. While our students and faculty are talented, we all have limits. This is where high fidelity simulators come in.

High fidelity simulators are mannequins that can create a realistic patient encounter for the learner. The mannequins can talk, demonstrate different breathing patterns, respond to changes in position or medications, mimic a range of medical issues, and one can even give birth. St. Ambrose University was able to purchase four high fidelity simulators this summer through grants from the Carver Foundation, Riverboat Development Authority and Scott County Regional Authority. The Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Departments have all begun to use these simulators throughout the curriculum.

Within the Physical Therapy Department, the students have used the mannequins when learning about heart and lung auscultation. In a different learning experience, one of the simulators was intubated and attached to numerous lines and tubes to simulate the intensive care unit. Students had to mobilize the "patient," assess changes in heart rate, blood pressure and other physiological responses, and make decisions about patient management. Students have found the mannequins to be a great way to mimic patient care. We are grateful for the unique learning opportunities provided by the high fidelity simulators.

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