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Robots make the best patients

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | February 2nd, 2009



Better to make a mistake on a mannequin, rather than a real-life patient

Only a few years ago, nursing students at Fanshawe College had no choice but to apply what they learned only in theory on real-life patients.

How technology has evolved.

In the winter of 2006, robotic mannequins were purchased for the nursing program to help better train the students without complications to a real-life patient.

Laerdal, the makers of the Sim family mannequins, are committed to the idea that simulators help save lives.

Over the years, more and more facilities, such as Fanshawe's nursing program, have evolved and are now using technologically advanced simulators that increase the learning potentials in all healthcare sectors.


According to Carol Butler, a Coordinator of Clinical Learning and Simulation, School of Nursing at Fanshawe College, the government provided the college with a $250,000 grant to use towards upgrading the nursing program facilities.

The mannequins are life-like dummies who have vital signs and all the characteristics of a human being, at a cost of $50,000 a mannequin.

The Sim family of robotic mannequins consists of a father, a mother who is about to have a baby, and older children.

Once theoretical work is outlined in the nursing program, real-life scenarios take effect as part of the curriculum.

“All nursing students are able to use the mannequins at Fanshawe,” said Butler.

The nursing program hopes to teach its students the basics that come with hands-on knowledge once applied outside of the classroom.

“Most of the scenarios we have for our students, we try for them to have a positive outcome,” Butler mentioned. “We program the mannequins for specific scenarios while modifying them to what we are doing.

Butler said that students learn by doing, and these students are getting extra experience that supplements what they are learning in clinical theory.

“Here they can make mistakes, because it's okay.”

The growing need to continually train students with up-to-date equipment is crucial when practicing medicine on real subjects.

Robotic mannequins help make nursing students feel more competent and confident once they enter their chosen field.

A new edition is being added to the already popular Sim family come March 2009. The all-new SimMan 3G is a more life-like robotic mannequin who has the capability to blink his eyes and cry and he will be used to assist nursing students without risk to patients and help with preventing unnecessary medical errors.

According to the Laerdal Commitment, the SimMan 3G is a state-of-the —art product that is easy to use and built to last with a complete range of products and services surrounding it.
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