High-tech sim man aids BC students

Myrissa Johns, News Editor

“Clear!” students yelled to ensure that no one was touching their patient as they delivered a shock to the Code Blue cardiac arrest patient, working to get its pulse back during a simulation on March 25. Bakersfield College Allied Health programs’ students are working with simulation mannequins that have the capability to act as actual patients.

BC nursing professor Nancy Mai also acts as a simulation coordinator to make the high-fidelity sim man react to how the students treat it during the simulation from a control room.

“They are such a wonderful advantage,” said Mai, who graduated from nursing school 30 years ago.

“We did a lot of skills on each other, which is not always the funnest thing, but having the ability to go through these types of situations before you’re actually hit with them, that just makes so much a difference.”

The high-fidelity sim man gives visible chest excursions, which allows the students to see breathing, has audible heart, lung, and bowel sounds, and also has a pulse that can be felt. It can also be intubated, have IV fluids injected, and receive actual electric shocks during a cardiac arrest.

Although the five high-fidelity simulators have extra capabilities, BC also has six mid-fidelity simulators and a handful of task trainers, according to Mai.

“We can use all this equipment to expose [students] to things that don’t happen every day in a clinical setting, because you never know what’s going to happen with the patient, it’s just kind of luck of the draw,” she said. “So, here we can take them through something that they may not be exposed to in the clinical setting so they’re prepared for it when they either get to the clinical setting or when they get out into the real practice.”

She said students will be able to tell patients that they have performed certain skills before, saying, “The big joke then that you’ll see all over the place is ‘of course I’ve done this before – on the sim man.’”

Despite the fact that the high-fidelity simulators are the only ones capable of being controlled by an instructor, the mid-fidelities and task trainers are beneficial to the students as well.

The task trainers allow students to practice specific skills, like straight catheter or foley catheter insertions, IV insertions, CPR, and other skills. The mid-fidelity simulators are more for role play for the students, according to Mai.

The mid-fidelities are controlled by a remote that another student would use to select certain symptoms for the simulator to exhibit, which would then be determined by the student taking the vitals, essentially, testing each other.

Mai said she feels that having the technology is the best of both worlds, saying that she thinks the sim man not only makes it easier for students who are hands-on learners to learn skills because they can see the patient react, but also helps students who are not by giving them the ability to watch other students’ recorded simulations.

Each simulation is recorded and posted to the nursing program’s website where it is available for students to watch and critique. Mai created a critique form to allow students to pick out what they like and don’t like from the videos and learn from it.

Mai said she thinks BC got its first high-fidelity sim man in 2005 at a cost of approximately $65,000, which was paid for with grant money.