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Coastal Bend College students study SimMan
Oct 03, 2009 | 683 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brian Lee of Laerdal demonstrates what local healthcare personnel can expect to learn  from SimMan, a simulated manikin.
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There’s a new man in town … sort of. Laerdal’s SimMan is fraught with medical problems, yet his appearance in Bee County is a lifesaver.

SimMan is an advanced simulated manikin that provides realistic and challenging medical scenarios that test the skills of those who work in the healthcare industry. He offers opportunities for people in health-related fields to practice and hone their skills in a safe, non-life threatening environment.

“Students learn by doing, so simulators serve a critical function in the classroom,” said Betty Sims, CBC director of nursing. SimMan’s restricted airways, cardiac arrests, aches, pains and other traumatic maladies force CBC nursing students to recall what they learn in the classroom and apply it in emergency situations without the threat of harm to living patients. But don’t be fooled – SimMan, in the midst of trauma, seems very real.

He can speak and breathe. He has a pulse. His vital signs are tracked. A number of procedures like inserting an IV can be performed on him. He comes with a pressure cuff and patient monitor similar to what students might find in a hospital. Instructors have the ability to use existing programs or develop their own emergency scenarios so that students can practice targeted skill sets.

SimMan resides at Coastal Bend College but will be shared by all CBC campuses, local hospitals, emergency responders and care facilities. SimMan can be used by professionals for retraining or certification. There are advanced and specialized scenarios available for nurses, EMS technicians, healthcare instructors and hospital workers.

Brian Lee of Laerdal said the U.S. Army uses SimMan for medical training exercises. He said you can bet that they put the simulators to the test by taking them out into the field to run combat scenarios. Lee recently introduced SimMan to a Beeville group.

Angel Care co-owner Gabriel Aleman attended the demonstration. He was excited about the opportunity to train his employees with the new equipment. “This is where we are headed. We all work in different silos but need to be able to communicate with each other using the same language,” Aleman said. “If this is a tool that we can use to bridge the gap between EMS technicians and nurses, I’ll do what I can to help this happen.”

Aleman, Sims and others are working to build a mobile classroom that can be used for site visits. The goal is to transport SimMan around the region so that healthcare personnel can have easy access to him, according to Sims. There are a handful of rolling sim labs around the country currently using Laerdal simulations systems. Access to a mobile lab reduces the need for hospitals and care centers to either create their own sim labs or send their employees out of town for training, both costly prospects.

The new simulator joins a full lab of diverse simulators that teach CBC students about pediatric, obstetric, geriatric and other modes of medical care. “SimMan will have a very positive affect in our area, making better nursing and technicians. This equipment fills a vital need in the community,” Sims explained.
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