Medical Mannequins: Life-Like Training

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012 - 10:10am

Nursing students get realistic experience with high-tech mannequins.

While hospital patients usually expect their caregivers to have a lot of experience, nurses and doctors in training have to get their practice somehow.

That could sometimes mean you are their first subject, but a Nashville university has brought in new technology that is changing that.

At the hospital inside the Lipscomb University nursing school, every bed is full.

However, each of the 19 patients doesn't run the risk of actually dying.

"Every mannequin has a name. His name is Fred," said instructor Tamara Baird.

The school uses mannequins which are configured to work, and become ill, just like humans.

Baird programs the dolls to have specific problems and ailments. One of them can even gives birth.

Students perform the procedures, and in this setting a mistake does not lead to a real emergency.

"We push the reset button, and we get to try that skill again," Baird said.

That feeling goes a long way when it means the caregivers have a better idea of what they are doing the first day on the job.

"I feel more confident in performing the procedure instead of trying for the first time on a real person," said student Phil Byrd.

The mannequins cost $60,000 to $90,000 each.

There is another advantage to the high-tech classroom at Lipscomb. In the case of a natural disaster or emergency, the hospital can even be used to treat real people.

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