Hospital uses SimMan for 'real-life' training

Candace Hall

New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton is one of three Massachusetts Hospitals that is now home to “SimMan” – a patient simulator that’s about as close as one can get to being human, without being real flesh and blood.

The technological wonder was brought to the hospital in September in order to help train medical staff and improve their skills in dealing with emergencies. It is being used jointly with Massasoit Community College to train nurses, nursing students, faculty and staff. SimMan is able to mimic a large number of serious medical emergencies that humans experience, including heart attacks. 

“It’s exciting. Students working on education development here have to figure out what’s happening, and that’s amazing,” said Carole Harrop, public relations director at New England Sinai Hospital.

SimMan has life-like skin that takes injections like a human, and a life-like pulse, blood pressure, veins, and other anatomy. Medical trainees can learn to draw blood, insert tracheotomy tubes, and insert chest tubes for a collapsed lung.

The simulator cost $48,000, and New England Sinai competed against 31 other applicants to get the grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

A chief requirement to get the funding was for a hospital to work in collaboration with a higher learning school to provide training for students. 

Massasoit was an integral part of the grant process, but nursing students from Regis College and Quincy Community College will be working with SimMan as well.

The hospital’s president and CEO, Lester Schindel, said New England Sinai is the perfect facility to use this type of technology because it has a variety of health technicians that can be educated through SimMan, including respiratory, occupational, and physical therapists.

“This is the highest level of technology in nursing education, and it is available for all,” he said.

 SimMan also goes by the name of “PAT” -- for Patient And Teacher. Harrop said the hospital wanted to seek another name for the simulator, so the staff had a contest, and the name PAT won.   She said it’s especially fitting, since Pat is a unisex name, and SimMan, which has interchangeable female/male anatomy, can be either sex.

 “It provided a fun introduction to our staff, and they came up with a terrific name,” she said.

Stoughton Journal