Talking mannequins get new simulation lab

Ellen Nelson

Ellen Nelson

The only two high-fidelity simulated mannequins at SDSU now have a newly remodeled area to call home.

The new simulation laboratory was built this past summer by joining two classrooms on the third floor of the Nursing-Family/ Consumer building.

“The new laboratory is to give students experience that may not be experienced during their clinicals,” said Roberta Olson, dean of the College of Nursing.

A computer control room for the two simulation mannequins was installed, equipped with a one-way viewing window to observe students while they interact with the “patients.” Mannequins will be programmed to simulate different symptoms and conditions via the control room.

“It was a very successful project,” said Dean Kattelmann, assistant vice president for facilities and services.

There were no surprises that came out of the project. It was on budget, on time and there were very few issues with the noise, said Kattelmann.

Contracting for the remodeling began in Spring 2009, and construction began as soon as school was out, said Kattelmann. It was a short time frame to complete the lab, he said. A dedication ceremony for the new simulation laboratory was held on Oct. 23.

Though the simulation room itself is new, the two simulation mannequins, also known as “Sim-Men,” have been on campus since 2005. The mannequins are computer-driven and can be programmed to demonstrate various symptoms for nursing students to evaluate and diagnose.

They provide immediate feedback. Talking, breathing and the simulation of a heartbeat are all features of the mannequins.

Nursing student fee dollars and the Brookings Health System provided the main financial support to acquire the mannequins.

The classroom where the mannequins once resided was more noise-congested and less realistic when compared to the environment of the newly-built laboratory, said Olson.

It was crowded by students and staff with limited space, she said.

“There was limited space dividing the control computer from the Sim-Man,” she said.

The simulation laboratory serves students by providing an environment that has the capacity to enhance skill learning by giving them realistic scenarios to deal with, Olson said. Class lectures are also held at the remodeled lab.

Nurses and other staff of Brookings Health System come to SDSU’s campus in the summer to practice and refresh their memories of various nursing techniques and strategies on the Sim-Man mannequins.

Brookings Health System nurses do not deal with patients going through cardiac arrest every day, but through the simulation laboratory, nurses get to practice what can and will happen in real-life settings, said Olson.

Senior nursing student Chase Weber of Sioux Falls has not yet been required to use a simulation mannequin in class but eventually will.

“I heard it has cameras, and the instructors will show us how to do stuff from the projector screen,” Weber said.

The clinical simulation learning center is located in room 361 in the Nursing-Family/ Consumer building.