The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Dr. Susan Davidson (right) demonstrates the many uses of SimMan

Lupton funds bring SimMan to campus

Nursing leaders in the Chattanooga community were introduced to SimMan recently, a new acquisition allowing dramatic changes in the way nursing and anesthesia students learn on campus. SimMan is a patient manikin simulator that talks, breathes, has a pulse and even emits body noises. It is a product of the Laerdal Company.

“In the past, nursing students practiced on each other to take vital signs, and nursing anesthesiologist students had to wait until they were in a hospital situation to intubate a patient. Now, nursing faculty can use remote control and set up scenarios for students as they learn on SimMan,” according to Dr. Susan Davidson, Associate Professor of Nursing at UTC.

Instructors may use pre-programmed patient cases, or they can create their own patient scenarios. Depending on the level of training difficulty in the scenario, physiological changes will vary in SimMan over a 10-minute time span. The ability to pre-set the scenario allows the instructor more time to supervise the training situation.

The University has acquired three of the manikins at a cost of $30,0000 each through a grant from the Lupton Renaissance Fund. In 2001, John T. and Alice Lupton established The Lupton Renaissance Fund with a gift of $25 million to UTC, the largest unrestricted cash gift to public higher education in Tennessee.

SimMan has another distinct advantage in its mobility, according to Joe Huse, Medical Education Specialist for Laerdal.

“SimMan is completely portable, so that he can be taken in an ambulance, a medical helicopter, or anywhere else students need on-site, scenario-based training,” Huse said.

Davidson recently returned from a SimMan training session, and she is charged with the responsibility of educating the nursing faculty about this valuable resource. “I learned how to change the voice of SimMan from male to female. Genitalia can be changed on the manikins as well. Laerdal is in the final stages of developing SimBaby, which would be an extraordinary addition to this training family,” Davidson said.