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New Technology Helps Nursing Students Prepare

Publish Date: 5/14/2010

May 7, 2010

MANSFIELD, PA— Human patient simulators--life-sized mannequins that cough, breath, have a pulse and can evenInstructor Susan Lanzara and student Danielle Gulick talk--are one of the new uses of technology that are helping Mansfield University Nursing faculty better prepare students to treat their human patients.

Put into use this year at the MU campus at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre and on the main campus, the mannequins allow instructors to simulate medical conditions in most of the scenarios a student could encounter when they deal with human patients but in a safe, teaching environment.

“It is as realistic as you can get without actually working with people. It provides students to work in a safe environment where no harm will actually come to a patient so I can allow the student to make a mistake and then reflect on it. If I were in the hospital I couldn’t allow that to happen.”

Interactivity is the key with the new simulators. Instructors can make changes and even talk, through a wireless microphone.

Instructor Susan Lanzara and student Nicole Jones“I can change things as a student is working with the patient,” Instructor Susan Lanzara said. “Depending on what action the student takes, I can change the way the mannequin reacts. Perhaps I’ll change the heart rate or the blood pressure and they’ll I’ll see how the student responds to that.”

“You actually get a confidence and a comfort level with what you’re doing,” Danielle Gulick, a senior from Hallstead, PA, said.

“You can say, I’ve practiced this on the mannequins and I know what to expect,” Nicole Jones, a senior from Philadelphia, PA, added. “When you go into the hospital with a real person they kind of can feel you sweat so this gives you more confidence and you know what to expect and how to handle situations.”

Having the new technology available, coupled with the close relationships that MU nursing students develop with their instructors, also gives the students more opportunities to build their confidence.

“I can knock on Susan’s door and she can help me. We can come down (to the lab) and do a certain scenario,”Instructor Susan Lanzara and student Connie Carpenter Connie Carpenter, a senior from Shinglehouse, PA, said.

To see video of the mannequins in use, check online at

The human patient simulators were funded by a $95,000 grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program. The grant was facilitated by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA).

The grant is also funding improvements to the nursing labs in Sayre and in campus.

In addition to the mannequins, MU nursing students are also using new technology in other ways, including learning to administer intravenous injections (IV’s) through a virtual computer program.

For more on the MU Nursing program and the Department of Health Sciences, check online at

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