main photo
Tacoma Community College » Areas of Study » Career Training » Nursing » Overview » Human Patient Simulation

Human Patient Simulation

The TCC Nursing Program uses clinical simulation technology. What is human patient simulation? HPS is a method to learn what will happen to people when they get health care, before we actually touch them!

Mannequins have been used for ages in health care teaching programs. Static mannequins are dressed with fake wounds to learn dressing changes or the body-less bottom (a partial task trainer) issued to teach nurses how to put catheters into people to drain out urine. Med schools for years have used the “standardized patient,” a paid volunteer to have a procedure practiced by fledgling students, multiple times in a row. Standardized patients are used so students can learn how to communicate bad news or how to touch “private parts” and actually know what you are supposed to feel down there.

Back to simulation -- companies have designed mannequins with computers that turn the static body into a responding body. Actions are programmed into the simulator. They have a heartbeat, bowel sounds, can blink, talk and even throw up. They are so complex that they can be made to scan a bar code that tells the computer what type of medication was just given and the program will run a protocol of how the body should react to the medication. They can also be programmed to react in many different ways. This gives seasoned staff the ability to practice low-volume but high-risk scenarios. This training prevents errors and saves lives.

Our simulation technician is responsible for the technical portion of the development of simulation at TCC and orients students to the latest software, boots the computer and makes the simulator's heart beat.

The Laerdal Virtual IV Simulator has impressed advanced standing LPNs entering the TCC Nursing program. Students eager to start IV's on patients during their clinical rotations must complete a specific competency level on the modules provided by the simulator before attempting these skills in real situations. Students are both proud and amazed at the skills they learn.

Radiological science students learn about drug reactions from SimMan. The Laerdal SimMan visited the X-ray lab at TCC and had a reaction to contrast dye on the table. Students had the opportunity to learn what to do should this really happen to a patient in a clinic or hospital.

The TCC Nursing Program has received a $25,000 grant from the Washington Center For Nursing to assist our simulation center in the “Suspension of Disbelief.” This term is used to describe the props used to enhance the practice environment making it more realistic. This helps the students to suspend their perception of the room as a practice setting. TCC plans to use the funds to develop and install wall coverings produced by KB Ports. These units are pictures of real hospital rooms, giving depth and orientation to the room and the typical supplies and equipment in the room. This will give the faculty the opportunity to help students become comfortable in the setting without the expensive costs of equipment that they may just look at rather than use. It also prepares the student for the real clinical setting.

This Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association grant is supported by funds raised for the Johnson & Johnson Promise of Nursing for Washington gala held in 2006, and is administered by the Washington Center For Nursing. To learn more go to Washington Center For Nursing.

Please consider rating the content on this page:
Poor Outstanding
Your comments about the content on this page:

If you would like us to get back with you, please share your email address (optional):