Robot Gives Nursing Students A Leg Up

Thursday, January 17th 2008, 11:04 pm
By: News On 6

Advanced technology is preparing Tulsa nursing students for the real world.  Nursing professors at Oral Roberts University are reporting great results with a life-like mannequin call SimMan.  After integrating the robot into their training courses, News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports, nursing graduates are ready for the real world and real patients.

Senior nursing students at ORU are standing by ready to help Sam the SimMan with whatever ails him.

"Oh I can't breathe and my chest hurts," said Sam the SimMan.

"We're going to get some oxygen on you and why don't you go ahead and get some nitro out and we'll put some nitroglycerin under your tongue and hopefully that will help relieve your chest pain," advises real-life Professor Sharon Willis.

Through a nearby computer, ORU Professor Sharon Willis tells SimMan what his illness is, and then he simulates it for her students.

"SimMan is a mannequin that comes to life.  He talks.  He breathes.  He has a heartbeat.  He has pulses in his neck, his arms, his groin," said ORU Professor Sharon Willis.

"Yes I'm quite nauseous," said Sam the SimMan.

With the touch of a button Sharon Willis can make SimMan vocalize his symptoms. She can even make him vomit.  And if that's not realistic enough for you, SimMan can go into cardiac arrest if students don't get things under control.

They're real life situations that otherwise these students may never get to practice until they actually happen.  In that way, Professor Sharon Willis says SimMan has revolutionized nursing school and made new nurses more prepared than ever before.

"They learn so much quicker and then when they get out in the real world they identify things that sometimes the nurses haven't even noticed," said Professor Sharon Willis.

Students say the best lesson Sam teaches is different breathing problems.  They say they might not be able to identify those problems in patients if they hadn't already heard them through Sam the SimMan.