Manikin simulators are a practical, cost effective way for residents to gain real-life medical experience without putting any lives at risk. This technology is gaining traction as a training method, and production companies consistently improve their simulator manikins to make them more lifelike. These realistic simulators are capable of displaying a number of symptoms and responding to medical treatments.
The largest demand for medical simulators comes from nursing schools. However simulators are available for several different specialties, including paramedics, anesthesiology, EMS, and obstetrics. These simulator manikins are not only useful for training new staff, but can also be used for licensed medical staff to practice complicated procedures or brush up on routine skills.
One Miami-based simulator company recently released an incredibly realistic birthing simulation manikin that can mimic a variety of obstetric situations. “Victoria” as the robot is known, is remarkably human. She breathes and has a pulse, so medical staff can use regular monitors (blood pressure monitor, fetal heart-rate monitor, and so on) on her and regulate her blood flow. She even has physiological responses to 200 common drugs, and if all goes well, at the end of the simulation Victoria will give birth to a baby that can cry and move its head.
Image courtesy of Gaumard Scientific.
Manikins such as Victoria can be controlled by an instructor and fed preprogrammed lines. Victoria allows residents to practice responding to dangerous birth complications, such as postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia, and shoulder dystocia.
This life-saving technology gives medical staff a chance to perfect certain skills and procedures in an effective way. Manikins are capable of mimicking many different symptoms; they breathe, cough, and have veins for nurses to practice injections. Their blood pressure can fall or rise in accordance with the specifics of the situation, and they can die when medical procedures are done improperly.
The advantage of using manikin simulators to train medical residents is that the doctors-in-training get a chance to practice and familiarize themselves with specific procedures in a regulated environment before having to perform them on living, breathing humans. This allows residents to approach the clinician setting feeling more confident in their ability to properly treat their patients. Research supports the theory that including simulator training as a part of medical education actually does improve patient outcomes for a number of specialties.