High-Fidelity Mannequins Facilitate Student Learning

The O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center

At one point or another, every nursing student in the School of Nursing & Health Studies will have the opportunity to work with Gus, Lucina, and Rose, sometimes in a life-or-death scenario. That’s because Gus, Lucina, and Rose are high-fidelity mannequins: an adult male, a pregnant mother, and a baby, respectively.

The O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center, established in 2002, is a critical part of the clinical skills education for undergraduate and graduate nursing students. This year, Tim (L’77) and Linda (N’77) O’Neill (Parents ’08,’11,’12,’15) made an additional $100,000 gift to support technology upgrades, including new audiovisual equipment and fully adjustable beds with pressure relief settings, scales, and various positions – just like the ones found in most hospitals. The lab also got a new electronic health record system.

“In order for the lab to be relevant for our students, we need to continue to upgrade the technology and equipment,” explains Kelli Giffin, MSN, RN, the center’s manager. “Thanks to the generosity of the O’Neill family, we are now able to give our students the most enriching experiential learning experience possible.”

For example, the adult male mannequin named Gus can be age 18 or 70, a diabetic or a cardiac patient. He has heart and lung sounds, papillary reactions, and can be used to teach intubation, ventilation, and follow-up assessment. Students appreciate the opportunity to practice these and other skills in a non-threatening environment and instructors appreciate having the new audiovisual equipment for live viewing and recording.

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and the Mary Center for Maternal and Child Care also utilize the Simulation Lab to conduct research and teaching activities. In one recent study, the lab was used to study the effect of hospital design on providers’ stress level.

“I wish we had a lab with this level of technology when I was a student,” shares donor Linda O’Neill, R.N.  “It’s so important for students to practice the techniques they’ll need in the real world.  That’s how they gain confidence in the diagnostic and treatment skills they’ll need when they are treating actual patients.”