When Kaylee Brabham, a senior health science and biology double major at St. Bonaventure University, pressed a stethoscope to the chest of the life-like simulation manikin, she immediately detected an abnormality.
Instead of hearing the normal two-beat “lub-dub” sound of a heart beating, Brabham identified a “woosh” between heartbeats.
“That’s the sound of a heart murmur,” explained her instructor, Dr. Keith Young, who oversaw a touch screen simulation monitor nearby. Young is developing SBU’s physician assistant studies program.
He then coached Brabham to take a pulse and listen again.
By the end of the session, Brabham and her classmates had each taken a set of vitals and learned to differentiate between normal and abnormal heart and lung sounds.
Their “patient” is the new SimMan Essential manikin, acquired through a matching grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. It will be part of the new Allied Health Simulation Learning Lab in St. Bonaventure’s School of Health Professions.
It is one of two high-fidelity simulators for the lab. An infant manikin and associated software have also been purchased through the grant.
“Both manikins are technologically advanced simulation equipment not currently available in our region,” said Dr. Claire Watson, director of St. Bonaventure’s public health program and co-author of the grant. “Each offers students hands-on experiences in core skills such as defibrillation, oxygenation, injections, IV insertion and more.”
Signs and symptoms occur within each manikin, delivering simulation experiences, Watson explained. Each has heart and lung sounds and a pulse like a real person. Both can blink and breathe, and the chests rise with respirations. The adult manikin can verbalize symptoms such as, “I’m having chest pains.”
When students perform CPR, the software will record the compressions and offer a review of the adequacy of compression and hand placement. Additionally, an accompanying touch-screen monitor can be set to resemble an ICU patient monitor, showing all vital signs.
“The SimMan experience was different than I expected because of all of the available technology and different controls,” said Brabham, a native of Syracuse, N.Y. “It will be a strong tool going forward in learning how to take vitals as well as how to respond in realistic situations.”
Brabham and her classmates learned what a collapsed lung looks and sounds like as Dr. Young created the medical event using the simulation software.
“The nice thing about simulation is that as the students progress in the training, the situations can progress in difficulty,” said Young, who is founding director of the physician assistant studies program. “As instructors, we use the same scenarios and make them more difficult. This also improves the students’ confidence because it’s a situation they’ve seen before.”
The manikins will be utilized by health science students as well as area health professionals seeking continuing education credits. Housed now in Murphy Building, they will eventually be located in Francis Hall once renovations are completed for the School of Health Professions.
For more information about the patient simulators or St. Bonaventure’s School of Health Professions, interested persons can contact Dr. Douglas Pisano, dean of the School of Health Professions, at (716) 375-2187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Susan Anderson
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