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Just like in an actual hospital, anything can happen.

Meet I-Stan.

I-Stan is a 150-pound, high-fidelity simulation man with lifelike skin, the ability to talk (or mumble if he is really ill), and the technology to react to a correct diagnosis made by the student nursing staff―or a wrong one.

I-Stan is just one of numerous lifelike SimMen in the Simulation Lab in Ball State's School of Nursing―complete with rows of beds, sinks, monitors, and frantic family members. The lab allows topics in classes to be brought from books, computer screens, and PDAs to life.

“I-Stan has internal secretions and can bleed out,” explains Tyrone Scott, as he installs the SimMan in the lab. Scott is a training and technical specialist for Medical Education Technologies Inc. in Sarasota, Florida.

The latest advances also lets I-Stan’s jaw to lock up and his pupils to dilate. He can sweat, react to a breathing tube being improperly administered as well as allow simulations of entering a bone to be possible. “If you want his lungs to be bronchial at the bottom and clear at the top, you can make it happen,” Scott says.

I-Stan also has nine different heart sounds to diagnose as well as six blood pressure sounds. CPR can be performed on him if he stops breathing, with the depth of the chest compressions being measured. He can also take the shock of live deliberators. Within the next year, technology will be available to allow specialized SimMen to have skin which can blister when something goes wrong with their treatment, Scott says.

SimMen prepare nursing students for life in a real hospital. “The simulations allows students to prepare to assist real patients,” says Carolyn Keihn, instructor of nursing.

Each SimMan in the lab can exhibit whatever ailment the professor wishes it to have, from an allergic reaction to gallbladder complications to congestive heart failure.

With all of the patients, their sexes are interchangeable. One SimMan is regularly known as Noel and is pregnant. She gives birth to a SimBaby, which can also be treated for complications or illnesses.

Each simulation is recorded for the students to review and see what is done correctly—or what mistake kills a patient. “It gives them a chance to reflect more on their nursing decisions,” Keihn says. Students also complete a debriefing after a lab session.

The success of teaching within the lab is not going unnoticed. “Ball Hospital has been here and is thinking about building a Sim Lab similar to this one,” Keihn says.
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“The simulations allows students to prepare to assist real patients,” says Carolyn Keihn, instructor of nursing.