New ‘Patients’ at CNHS Have Every Symptom Imaginable

Posted: September 21, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Amy Biderman

Students in the College of Nursing and Health Science (CNHS) are caring for three new patients, though all are yet to be named. The manikins—computer-controlled patient simulators known in the medical field as “SimMen”—are residing in the Toups Clinical Labs, part of a new initiative to create a Center for Excellence in Clinical Teaching.

Each manikin talks, breathes (with the help of an air compressor), coughs, and replicates many human physiological functions. Using a laptop computer with a Microsoft application, CNHS faculty can program clinical scenarios for students to practice important skills before moving on to real patients. The technology allows students to validate how well—or how poorly—they perform a procedure.

“These simulated patients will engage the students in thinking critically about nursing interventions required in specific situations, such as respiratory distress or cardiac arrhythmias,” says Jeanne Sorrell, acting dean, nursing. “They make possible the design of innovative teaching strategies to help students integrate classroom and clinical knowledge required for best practices of patient care.”

Students in the College of Nursing and Health Science get to practice their skills on three new SimMen in the Toups Clinical Labs.
Photo by David Smith

Each SimMan, which is manufactured by the Norwegian company, Laerdal, costs approximately $30,000, funded through private contributions. “We are most grateful to alumni and friends of the college who have provided students with opportunities to learn on state-of-the-art equipment,” notes Mary-Earle Farrell, associate director in University Development.

CNHS is currently sponsoring a contest for students to name the three SimMen. The rules call for the “patients” to have first and last names; first names that can be used for either gender are ideal, but not necessary. Names will be judged on creativity, ease of pronunciation, and appropriateness to the lab setting. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Oct. 15. CNHS will announce the winners and award prizes at an open house in the Toups Labs on Thursday, Oct. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. The winning names will be attached to each manikin.

For additional information, contact Lucy Boland, 703-993-1933 or

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