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Life-like mannequins bring real- world experience to Monroe College nursing program

By all accounts Harry is a great patient to learn nursing.

He is sick and grumpy, and the monitor displaying his heart rate isbeeping off the charts, but he doesn’t mind having the nursing students at Monroe College use him each day for practice.

Harry doesn’t mind because he’s not a person. He’s a souped-up mannequin called a SimMan, which is the latest in nurse-training technology. He is also one of the stars of the new Human Patient Simulation Center at Monroe College.

The new center was unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony, held on Tuesday, December 7. The center includes Harry, a full-body pregnancy simulator named Kelly, her infant mannequin son Jordan, and a control room where the mannequin patients can be programmed so the nursing teachers can observe the students as they treat and interact with the subjects.

“We can program him to do anything we want,” said registered nurse and teacher Jennifer Ort, referring to Harry. “He can even die.”

While Harry can be programmed to cry, bleed, sweat and simulate heart-attacks, Kelly can simulate giving birth.

She isa pregnancy simulator, equipped with a fake uterus and birth canal. She is not “high-definition”, like Harry is, but the toddler mannequin can be programmed to not only be born abnormally, but teachers can program the baby to have a heart condition or suffer complications during birth.

The mannequins are not a typical feature in nursing colleges, but teachers at Monroe feel they will help students learn to deal with real-life situations before they enter an operating room.

“With testing out these clinical experiences before they get to the operating room, it really can create a more confident and competent nurse,” said nursing teacher and RN Rondine Douglas.

The mannequins are also equipped with censors that can tell if the nursing students are administering the right medicines. But teachers agree, perhaps the most important feature is that Harry can be programmed to talk, which forces students to interact with his often bad temper.

The college was the first in the country to receive the pregnant mannequin, and will begin using all three in classes starting in January. The school has about 70 students in the nursing program, and each will work regularly with the mannequins.

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