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MANnequin brings lessons to life

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

There’s a new man lounging around Grant County High School’s health science program.
The “man” or new mannequin can cough, vomit, breathe and has a pulse. Using a stethoscope students can hear heart, lung and bowel sounds. He can even be programmed to talk to students.

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Four of the pre-nursing students spent time getting to know their patient.
“I feel it. It’s not weak, it’s strong,” said Maria Stewart, after finding the mannequin’s pulse.
Stewart checked for a heart rate.

“It sounds weird,” she said intently listening to her stethoscope. “I hear it now. It’s loud.”
Stewart is one of 12 pre-nursing students and 50 emergency procedures students in GCHS’s program.

“I feel it,” said Shelby Raisor, taking a turn checking for a pulse.

“It’s right there,” said Amber Voelker.

This is exactly what Sherry Lawson, the health science instructor at the GCHS Career and Technical Center wanted for her students.

 “We want our students to have higher critical thinking skills and this will help us achieve that,” Lawson said. “This type of technology will allow students to become more confident in their skills and the patient care they provide.”

Lawson’s goal when she wrote a grant proposal to the R.C. Durr foundation was to get enough funding to purchase the mannequin and software that would help create a 21st Century Health Career Skills Lab.

The foundation awarded the program $14,981.80 for the project. GCHS was one of 18 high schools to apply, but the only one to receive the full amount requested.
“This will help us make the lab more of a real-world experience for our students,” Lawson said.

In addition to being an educator, Lawson is also a registered nurse, so she knows the importance of hands-on experience.

The mannequin, through the software, can be programmed for various scenarios, which gives the students the ability to measure and interpret vital signs, including abnormal ones, identify and treat a problem within the first five minutes of care, use a defibrillator and listen and identify abnormal heart and lung sounds.

Students work in pairs to listen to each other’s heart, lung and bowel sounds, which are usually normal sounds, but the mannequin will allow the students to experience difference situations before they work 20 hours in clinicals.

“With their experience limited to a lab setting before they go out for those clinicals, this technology will expose them to abnormal sounds that they might not be familiar with, which means they could possibly miss important information,” Lawson said.

The grant also means that the students are being exposed to technology they might not see until they reached college-level nursing classes.

“Because we are dual credit, we want to model our program as close as possible to what college students would be getting. This is a big step up for us,” Lawson said.