New Addition to Enhance PSC Nursing Students’ Experience

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– The Prairie State College (PSC) Nursing Department is expecting a baby.

The baby will breathe, cry, and need its diaper changed often. And, it will simulate a wide variety of diseases and emergency life threatening situations a baby might face.

The little bundle of joy, SimBaby, will make its debut in the classroom this fall. SimBaby, manufactured by Laerdal, is an anatomically realistic robotic baby designed to teach decision-making skills to nursing students through realistic patient care scenarios.

“There are a few clinical sites in the south suburbs that can afford students the opportunity to come in contact with an infant/child that has complex health issues,” said Gwen Dean, dean of health professions and director of nursing. “SimBaby will allow students to obtain hands-on pediatric experience in a variety of situations.”

SimBaby is the size of a three-month-old infant. It is designed to allow students to practice a variety of scenarios from administering an IV to evaluating breath sounds and cardiac rhythms.

Nursing instructors also can create real-life patient situations appropriate to what they are teaching at the time. Students can make mistakes and learn about the consequences of these decisions without putting real patients at risk. By practicing in the simulation lab, when students reach their clinical site at the hospital to put what they learn to practice, they are comfortable with their patients.

“Simulation is a trend in nursing because it exposes the students to situations they may not get to experience in their clinical rotation,” said Marie Hansel, associate professor of nursing. “As a result, students are better prepared when they graduate.”

However, simulation is not a new trend for PSC. The college has used SimMan for the last five years. SimMan is the adult version of SimBaby, and teaches students how to properly handle everything from difficult airway management to performing CPR to dealing with trauma cases.

“Simulation teaches students the role of the nurse and how to be flexible,” said Hansel. “It’s very rewarding to see students transition from learning in simulation to treating real patients.”

The nursing department will prepare for SimBaby’s arrival with a baby shower later this summer.