There's nothing like some realism to training students going into the medical field, and that's exactly what Victoria College Respiratory Care students are getting, thanks to new realistic mannequins used for teaching.

Five-year-old Hal had just been rescued after accidentally falling into the deep end of a family swimming pool. The boy is still unconscious when he arrives at the emergency room. His pupils are dilated. His breathing is shallow. Suddenly, Hal has no pulse.

That’s one of the real-life scenarios students in Victoria College’s Respiratory Care Program have experienced thanks to the recent acquisition of state-of-the-art mannequins that simulate realistic patient responses. Funding for the mannequins and other new technology for the program was made possible by a $216,500 grant from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation.

“These high-fidelity mannequins allow our students to see the patients’ responses,” said VC Respiratory Care Clinical Coordinator Ceci Oldmixon. “The mannequins actually have physiological responses. The really nice thing about these mannequins is that we incorporate all our advanced skills and lower-grade skills all in one simulation.”

“You have to act like its real life,” said second-year student Melina Padierna. “You have to think quickly, and you have to work with your team. It’s a little bit nerve-wracking.”

“It gets pretty intense in here,” said first-year student Brandon Mills. “This is as close as we can get without having a real patient. This technology gives me an opportunity to encounter things I have never seen before. When we get out in the real world and in a hospital setting, we should be very skilled at this.”

 

Before, VC students were trained only on “low-fidelity” mannequins. They had to be told by instructors how their patients were responding. Now, students can physically see the new mannequins’ responses just as they will at the bedside.

The program also used the funds donated by the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation to purchase two lung simulators, a ventilator, an advanced patient IV training arm, an intubation trainer and a patient communication simulator.

Victoria College’s Respiratory Care Program offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree. Successful completion of the program enables graduates to take a series of national board exams to become a registered respiratory therapist.

For information on Victoria College’s Respiratory Care Program, call (361) 573-3291.