Nurses Get Learning Boost from Robotic Patients

Simulated patients, breath, groan and even give birth

By Brian Thompson and Janet Paist
|  Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009  |  Updated 8:36 AM EDT
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Robotic Patients Lend Aid to Doctors, Nurses

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Robotic Patients Lend Aid to Doctors, Nurses

Robotic simulators help medical professionals fine tune their care. Nurses say the simulation helps cut down on mistakes in real life.
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It's the latest trend in teaching nurses: Robots -- or simulated people who breath, have a pulse, sweat, complain and even give birth.

At the Trinitas School of Nursing in Elizabeth, N.J., the newest generation teaching aids is on display in the new home for its nursing school.
  
Sixteen beds are dedicated to the robo-patients, giving the nursing students hands-on opportunities to work with differing medical conditions that can be programmed into the manic mannequins.

Trinitas has one simulator that actually gives birth to a baby

"Here we can produce [medical situations] and reproduce them until all the students have actually experienced that," said Trinitas Hospital's Teresita Procto.

In all, as many as five hundred nursing students per semester will use their new simulation lab.

"It's good that we do this, so that we get to practice so that we don't end up making a mistake," said one student, Marlene -- as she worked on a robo-patient named Mrs. Jones, who was complaining of breathing problems.

After being treated the simulated Mrs. Jones said, "I feel better now."

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