There’s a guy in Southwestern Illinois College Health Sciences program classrooms helping students learn — well, sort of a guy. He’s a robotic human patient simulator. And don’t say his name is Stan — it’s iStan. He works alongside BabySIM, a baby patient-simulation robot, according to a press release.
“We’re using it to give our students the real patient experience before actually working with a human patient,” said Emergency Medical Technician Program Coordinator Curt Schmittling.
For the past year, SWIC Paramedic and EMT classes have used iStan and BabySIM to simulate a human patient undergoing a variety of health problems. Soon, Nursing and Respiratory Care classes will also incorporate them.
The simulator can be programmed to mimic a person having a heart attack, a variety of physical ailments and even bleed with simulated blood through prompting from a wireless computer program uploaded to the simulator. Students then assess and treat the patient based on the symptoms programmed into it. The smaller, baby-sized BabySIM behaves similarly.
“The old mannequins we used were nowhere near as advanced as iStan (and BabySIM) is,” Schmittling said.
CAE Healthcare makes the simulators. Featured health symptoms that can be simulated include fluid secretions from the eyes, nose, ears and mouth; convulsions; sweating; heart rate and blood pressure readings; and reactions to medications, among many other features.
Students can use regular medical instruments like stethoscopes and thermometers to diagnose and help treat or stabilize the simulated patient during their training. They can also intubate iStan’s lungs, put in IVs and practice using a defibrillator with a real device. Also, starting this spring, students can work in labs created to replicate emergency scenarios.
iStan and iBaby give SWIC students an educational advantage that ensures they have the greatest amount of skills and training before they enter clinical training in health care facilities and work with live patients, Schmittling said.
For more information on the SWIC Paramedic, Nursing, EMT and Respiratory programs, call 618-235-2700.