January 24, 2014

SimMom prepares healthcare students for labor and delivery

Molly Kellgren demonstrates SimMom's capabilities to nursing alum Shukran Gure M'07 '11. Photo by Sharon Rolenc

As the latest addition to the Minneapolis Campus’ state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab, SimMom provides an exciting new opportunity for students. A “pregnant” mannequin, SimMom not only simulates all the normal human body functions including blood pressure, pulse and respirations, she’s also programmable to simulate numerous child-birth scenarios including life-threatening complications.

Preparing practitioners for “low frequency/high risk” situations, where a patient’s life is at risk, proves an on-going challenge in the medical field.

“Knowing how to react is vitally important, but the nurse rarely has a chance to practice the interventions. This technology allows students to feel the anxiety of the situation and experience it. They become more acquainted with correct responses without risk of patient harm,” says Molly Kellgren, assistant professor and coordinator of the Nursing Applied Learning Lab.

Not only can instructors program any number of labor and delivery complications like a postpartum hemorrhage, eclampsia or seizure, they can also program reactions to the care provided.

“Any time the nurse performs an intervention, we can program a response to that intervention. We also have the capability of changing things ‘on the fly’ so we can alter different responses as a situation occurs,” explains Kellgren.

Gaining clinical hour experience in obstetrics (OB) is a requirement of St. Catherine University’s nursing degrees. Because there are so many variables involved in labor and delivery, providing a consistent OB experience is challenging at best.

“SimMom gives us an opportunity to standardize these experiences for our students,” says Suellen Campbell, assistant dean of undergraduate nursing programs and professor.
Students will get the chance to use the mannequin starting spring semester, with the first simulation scheduled for Feb. 11. Obstetrics and lab faculty received training this week on SimMom, or “Katie” as they have aptly nicknamed the mannequin.

Second semester students will participate in normal birth simulations, while fourth semester students will tackle a complicated labor and delivery simulation. The specific complication will not be divulged in advance because — as in the real world — students will need to think and respond quickly on their feet.

Related content: Minneapolis campus opens state-of-the-art simulation lab

by Sharon Rolenc