TRU Nursing acquires high-tech birthing mannequin

$120,000 birthing mannequin bought by TRU’s School of Nursing will give students near life-like training

The miracle of simulation! TRU nursing students and their instructor work hard to help Victoria deliver her baby. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

The miracle of simulation! TRU nursing students and their instructor work hard to help Victoria deliver her baby. (Wade Tomko/The Omega)

Victoria is the newest addition to TRU’s School of Nursing. The fully interactive and life-sized female mannequin uses cutting-edge technology to simulate a woman before, during and after birth.

The $120,000 TRU used to acquire the mannequin came from philanthropist Ken Lepin, who has made donations to the university a number of times, including a $2.25 million sum in 2014.

With the ability to simulate normal, healthy births as well as more complex emergency situations such as c-sections, the birthing mannequin will teach students the skills to make assessments and decisions in real-life environments.

Dean of Nursing, Donna Murnaghan believes the key to exceptional graduates lies not only in highly-trained faculty, but also being able to repeat a wide range of diverse scenarios that only a simulation can offer.

“The key about the simulation is that we have the opportunity to do more because we can practice,” Murnaghan said. “Students can come back and practice and they could have case scenarios and work with faculty. That is the nice part of simulation, that repetitive learning.”

Students within TRU’s School of Nursing will begin practicing with the birthing mannequin in their second and third years. Besides simulating childbirth, the mannequin also enables nursing educators to implement triage situations and team training, allowing students to experience interprofessional training with respiratory therapists and lab technicians.

Though many nursing students experience a real-life delivery at the local Royal Inland Hospital within their first year, the opportunity isn’t always there, according to fourth-year nursing student Jennifer Sage.

“In areas like mat-health or even being in the room during a delivery, it’s based on whether that opportunity presents itself and many students may not get that opportunity,” Sage said. “I believe having the mannequin in the lab will help close that gap.”

“Technology like this makes it easier for students to get those skills under their belt before being pushed into the clinical area,” added Sage.

Yet, future TRU nursing students may have even more opportunities to use such technology and acquire necessary career skills through simulation, as the university continues to fundraise for a Nursing and Population Health building on campus.

“We are on a capital campaign for a new nursing and population health building,” Murnaghan said. “We would have at least eight simulation rooms. So we’re thinking about the future. This is where we need to go.”

The new Nursing and Population Health building will likely house Victoria when built, as Murnaghan assures that the high-fidelity mannequin will be in use for at least ten years. Though she predicts that the life of the mannequin will extend much further into the future.