Health care education has always been theoretical study followed by direct practice on real patients. Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences has developed highly technical robots which can act as fake patients and allow medical students to practice on them. This way they get an idea of how to take care of a patient before they become qualified nurses or physicians.
Talking about these human simulator robots, Jamie Musler, director of interprofessional medical simulation lab at Northeastern who stages medical emergencies says, “We try to keep them alive as much as possible and treat them like real patients.” These human-like robots are said to have blue eyes, pale skin, and a wide, open mouth. The robots can perform all life-like processes like blink, bleed, breathe, sweat, urinate, metabolise medicine, and even recreate heart sounds.
Talking about their experience with the simulation, Nathalie Garcia and Julia Thompson, two fourth year nursing students at Northeastern says that they did feel authenticity in the stress shown by the robots, though they knew that it was not real. By intentionally making the simulations stressful, Jaime says, he hopes he’s preparing his students for the worst. Though Julia agrees that high-stress situations are really helpful, Nathalie has a different opinion. For her, the simulations were unnatural.
The nursing students have a common opinion that there can be no replacement for real patients and nursing is all about the interaction with patients and making them feel at ease. However, they also say that even though the simulation dolls are not perfect, they are very helpful in teaching the students about patient interaction.