Norma and her unnamed baby aren’t typical patients at the School of Nursing (SON). The mother is a SimMom, a simulation patient mannequin, and the SON’s newest development in hands-on nursing training.
The SimMom’s debut is part of the 50-year anniversary of the nursing program, and the SON wants faculty, staff and students to help name her baby. Once the name votes are counted, the SON will hold a celebration to name the infant simulator and unveil the SimMom.
Norma — the fifth simulator Troy owns, named by the Troy community, is a high-fidelity simulator, meaning she can create more high-stress complications for students to practice. Most low-fidelity simulators can only respond by changing blood pressure or heart rate.
“Students come in and do basic concepts they need to master, and then from there, we build on that every semester,” said Wade Forehand, director of the SON. “By the time they get to the birthing process, then they are well aware of blood pressure issues, heart rate.
“If the mother’s going to code, or if something unusual is happening, we can throw those items on them.”
The simulation is run by faculty members on the other side of a one-way mirror used to observe students. They can direct Norma to have random birthing complications as a way to test students.
“They (students) have the chance to experience those complications before getting into the setting,” said Karri Booth, a lecturer and lab coordinator in the SON. “They can learn what to do and how to respond.
“The more you see here in this controlled environment, the more students have confidence when they go out to the hospitals.”
Having that confidence before being put in a real-life situation better prepares students to be medical professionals, according to both Booth and Forehand.
“This gives them a really safe and controlled environment to test their abilities, rather than it be real life, in the hospital room, seriousness of life or death, and whatever you do intervening wise can change that,” Forehand said. “If your patient expires, nothing’s going to happen other than it be a learning opportunity to stress students, but also give them the safety net to be able to make mistakes.”
With Norma, students can deliver and handle a baby from birth, even using an incubator to learn after birth care.
While all nursing students are sent to clinicals with hospitals, there are times when students are not able to experience delivery outside their textbooks and classes. Norma ensures every student gets a chance to be exposed to delivery.
“Hopefully we’re sending them to places that are busy, has mothers coming in and out, but there’s a lot of times a student goes into the clinical study and nobody’s delivering that day,” Forehand said.
The infant simulator, which is also high-fidelity and more realistic, still lacks a name.
“With the infant we have, what we’re trying to do is give people in the community a chance to make that call,” Forehand said.
Anyone can vote on the name of the new baby with donations of at least $1 at donate.troy.edu/school-of-nursing.
“All the funds generated from that will come right back into the school of nursing, so we’re not using that for anything but to help better our program and our students,” Forehand said.
Eight names are being bounced around for the simulation infant:
The girl names are Tatum, Kelly Kate, Judy Catherine and Cardi B (for cardinal and black).
The boy names are Troy, Hawk, Demarcus (after Super Bowl champion and former Trojan football player Demarcus Ware) and Jack Hawkins III, or Trey for short.
A “gender reveal party” is set to be part of a 50-year celebration on Sept. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the nursing building where T-Roy will come to kick a football, helping reveal what name donors have chosen. All are welcome to join the party.
The SON also plans to show off the SimMom technology and its capabilities at the reveal.
“We’re going to let people come in and see the simulation area; we’re going to run some demonstration exercises and let them see how the equipment works,” Forehand said.
For more information visit the school of nursing webpage at troy.edu.