News - 05/9/2014

MiraCosta College Nursing Dept. Acquires Birthing Manikin

Nursing Program Birthing Manikin

She does everything except give birth. Well, actually, she does that, too.

Her name is SimMom and she is a new, anatomically correct, high-tech manikin complete with sophisticated computer electronics that allow her to mimic a birthing mother’s behavior, down to the “this will be an only child!” outbursts.

She – along with the 6 pound, 8 ounce baby she delivers – is the latest addition to a family of five, high-fidelity manikins in the MiraCosta College Registered Nursing Program

“We feel we have a complete lab now that complements our clinical program while providing a safe environment,” said Sandy Comstock, associate dean of nursing and allied health at MiraCosta College.

Grants from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office covered the cost of the $49,000 manikin, along with $18,000 for computer software that directs various patient scenarios, Comstock said.

“She is a full-on teaching mechanism for different types of delivery, including a breech, hemorrhage, or a shoulder dystocia,” said Denise Omitt, a registered nurse who works as a MiraCosta College instructional assistant in the nursing laboratory.

SimMom is described by its manufacturer, Laerdal Medical, as “an advanced, full-body birthing simulator with accurate anatomy and functionality to facilitate multi-professional obstetric training of delivery management.”

In other words, she’s as close as you can get to a real maternity patient without having a real maternity patient. And that is vital in any nursing program.

 “We give them events here that they may not experience in a hospital,” Omitt said.

Nursing students doing clinical work at Tri-City Medical Center, for example, are not usually allowed in a room when a maternity patient is suffering an obstetrical emergency – a life-threatening medical condition that occurs in pregnancy or during the delivery. With SimMom, the students can experience the emergency, plan the care and actually perform the care to the manikin instead of compromising a real patient. They debrief after the scenario and discuss how they performed, what went well and how they could improve the care as well as the outcome. The students take this very seriously. 

“What our students deal with here really emulates what they’re going to see in the hospital delivery room, and prepares them to act appropriately,” Omitt said. 

Obstetrics is part of the MiraCosta College Registered Nursing Program and is covered in the second semester of the first year.

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