At UH nursing school, it's almost like the real thing

Published: Jan. 6, 2012 at 10:14 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2012 at 2:55 AM HST
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Mary Boland
Mary Boland

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nurses are in high demand these days, and nursing schools are becoming more competitive. That's why UH Manoa has just unveiled an eight million dollar, state-of-the-art simulation center - where the lessons fall somewhere between make-believe and reality.

At UH's new nursing facility, childbirth isn't real, but it's close.

The nursing student says, "Okay, I know you're in a lot of pain." And the mannequin who's - yes! - simulating birth answers, "Please! I'm suffering from the pain. This is the worst pain ever!" The student replies, "I know, I know. You're almost through it."

The entire third floor of Webster Hall - all eight thousand square feet - has become a hands-on simulation center of ER's, ICU's, homecare, and hospital rooms.

"We're giving them the opportunities to, essentially, practice what they will be doing, in an environment that is a safe environment," says Mary Boland, UH Dean of Nursing.

The facility is open to hundreds of UH nursing students, faculty, researchers, and practicing nurses. It incorporates the use of hi-fidelity mannequins that can breathe, blink, have heart, lung, and bowel sounds, and even get their vital signs recorded.

"They really interact with the students," says Boland of the mannequins. "They can mimic all the common and uncommon conditions that the students will see and give them an opportunity to both build their skills and their confidence."

Student Michelle Yamada prefers this setting to the classroom. "When we actually get to practice the skills, hands on, it really cements the concepts and the different things we learn during lecture time."

Cameras and microphones pick up the action, and after each scenario, the students go back and review what they did. The center is also designed with technology that can be updated over the next decade - as new technology is discovered.

"I'm really excited about this new simulation lab," says Yamada. "It's so beautiful and wonderful. It's like a real hospital."

And when they get out into the real world, they'll be comfortable making the rounds after so much practice with their bedside manner.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.