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February 05. 2014 9:11PM

Keene State College opens $1.2m Nursing Simulation Lab

KEENE — Expanding on the Nursing Program Keene State College started in 2011, the institution opened its new Nursing Simulation Lab last month.

The $1.2 million facility includes five patient areas and a nurses station set up just as they would be in current hospital environments.

Before the lab was opened Jan. 21, Keene State College nursing students used a lab at River Valley College in Claremont, said Dr. Mary Ellen Fleeger, director of nursing at Keene State College.

This new lab is state of the art and cutting edge in every way, Fleeger said Tuesday.

The lab includes two intensive care rooms that are monitored from a common control room where professors can observe student reacting to a created simulation through a one-way mirror.

A high-tech mannequin known as "METIman" is used to test the students on different patient scenarios. The METIman can be programmed for up to a hundred different health care scenarios.

Professors in the control room can also affect his or her reaction — the mannequin can be adjusted to be male or female — to what the patients are doing.

"They can make it convulse," said Jessica Morissette, Keene State College nursing student and junior, set to graduate in 2015.

Cameras are also used to capture the simulations so students can watch their mistakes as well as triumphs as part of the learning process.

Tuesday students in the lab were trained on a ceiling lift.

Using mechanical lifts help nurses avoid the physical injuries that come with the job, Assistant Professor Cynthia G. Cahoon told her students Tuesday morning.

Each student took a turn operating the left as well as being in the lift.

"You need a turn at being a patient," Cahoon said.

Morissette said the simulations and training with the equipment they will encounter in real health care situations gives her confidence. "We can say I do know how this feels like and don't worry I won't let you fall," Morissette said of using the lift.

These new nursing students won't have contact with real patients till March when they will begin learning in area nursing homes.

Until then METIman can stand into have IV and catheter insertions, and have his pulse, body temperature and blood pressure taken.

"The lab is amazing. Iit is so high tech, and there are so many things around that we have to learn how to do and learn how to use it. I've never seen another lab like it," Morissette said. "It's like you're working with a real human beings without being afraid of hurting someone or getting something wrong."

Nursing lecturer Ashley Richmond said the new nursing students are holding a naming contest for METIman, so he/her will likely take a new name before the end of the semester.

mpierce@newstote.com


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