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Birthing simulator manikin provides real-life training for nurses

When a “pregnant” Maggie arrived at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, enthusiastic nurses threw a baby shower for the “mother-to-be.” Since Maggie is not a real patient but a life-size manikin, she could not contribute anything to the celebration.

But as a birthing simulator, the female manikin helps labor and delivery nurses develop and hone their skills.

Maggie’s heart rate, blood pressure, contractions and other vital signs are displayed on a computer monitor just as they are for real patients on the labor and delivery unit. Maggie even can deliver a “baby” named Sam, whose fetal heart rate also is visible, providing real-time feedback.

Maggie also talks, exclaiming “Ouch!” and “This is the worst pain ever!” and other expressions a mother in labor might say.

Nurses credit the simulators for allowing them to learn in a non-threatening environment.

“She is not alive and you can make mistakes without permanency and learn from them,” said Carolyn Morgan, RN, BSN, a nurse in the birth center. “It’s better to practice on a manikin.”

Maggie can simulate 30 birthing scenarios, including shoulder dystocia and delivering a simulated baby in the breech position, Morgan said.

When Maggie arrived at the hospital in February, a baby shower was held to introduce her to donors and the leadership team, said Dikera Gutierrez, RN, MSN, TNS, an educator consultant at Good Samaritan. The $50,500 cost, which includes the Maggie simulator, baby Sam and training, was funded by a gift from the Advocate Charitable Foundation.

The simulators help nurses learn what to do during potentially life threatening but rare events such as hemorrhages in a simulated but life-like environment, Gutierrez said.

“We also did a neonatal resuscitation with the baby,” she said. “They had to resuscitate and put in an umbilical line and help with intubation.”

The simulators also have expanded to other areas such as the family care unit and ED. Maggie even can simulate a C-section, although the hospital has not yet used the manikin for that scenario.

Maggie is a wonderful teaching tool “so when the staff comes across high-risk, low-frequency events they would have at least been exposed to them and coached through specific scenarios,” said Jennifer Anderson, RN-BC, MS, manager of clinical education. Simulation has taken the learning environment for staff to a higher level and allowed them to keep up with the complexity of the patient care, she said.

“They (patients) can take a turn for the worse, so how do you equip nurses and physicians to be able to address those issues without simulation?” Anderson said. “We would have never been able to do this kind of approach without the simulators in the setting.”

Jeanne Weizeorick, RN, BSN, a postpartum nurse, said before Maggie arrived it was difficult to think critically during a non-routine patient situation. “Maggie allows us to do that critical thinking in an emergency much easier.”

It also helps that Maggie can talk, she said. “She can say, ‘I am having lots of pain’ or you can ask, ‘What is your pain level?’ and she can tell you,’” Weizeorick said.

“The experience makes you feel more in the situation than just having them show you, ‘This is what happens if someone bleeds.’ Maggie is saying, ‘I am having this complaint and this is what’s happening.’ And then, boom! You have that feeling of your adrenaline kicking in a little bit, even though it’s just a simulator.”

By | 2014-07-14T00:00:00-04:00 July 14th, 2014|Categories: Greater Chicago, Regional|0 Comments

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