Keeping it real

An unusual arrival: The U of M School of Nursing celebrated the arrival of baby Emmett at 1:16 p.m. on July 15, 2015. What’s unusual about Emmett and his mother is that they’re not humans, but birthing simulation mannequins meant to help nursing students practice essential skills.

Why it’s needed: The mannequins have more capabilities than the previous simulator students used. For instance, it’s now possible for someone to simulate the voice of the mother mannequin so students can practice their communication skills. In addition, since the baby has a simulated heart rate and other vital signs, students can practice managing high-risk births.

What students think: “As a learner, I want to take every opportunity to practice so that I can provide my patients with the best care possible,” says Gina McBride, who was a midwifery student in the doctor of nursing practice program when the mannequin arrived.

How gifts made it possible: The purchase of the new birthing simulation mannequin was made possible by a generous gift from Lynette Thompson, a nurse whose husband was a neonatologist at the University of Minnesota.

Bottom line: “There is a huge menu of new learning opportunities,” says Melissa Avery, a professor at the School of Nursing. “Students can practice realistic emergency clinical scenarios in real time and be more prepared in a real clinical setting.”

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