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'Sim Mom' help nursing students learn in realistic scenarios

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FAIRBORN (WRGT) -- For a nursing student, it's the next best thing to working on a live patient. A simulated mother going into labor is a key tool for nursing students at Hondros College in Fairborn.

"They actually have the ability to do more things with the simulator in preparation for being in a clinical setting," said Dianna Tabern, director of nursing at Hondros College.

The simulator is programmed to give students a life-like scenario of being a nurse during the labor and delivery process.

"They're able to monitor the heart rate of the baby to see if the baby is in distress. So, it's pretty much the same thing that you would do if you were in a labor room with a mother.

Nursing instructors at Hondros College have been using the "sim mom", as she's called, for the last month. The students are left to make the decisions on their own, while an instructor controls one of the 12 labor scenarios by computer.

"The person that's in the control room is saying, 'Oh, I'm having contractions. Oh, I'm having another one. Oh, I'm having this much pain.' And, they really have to respond to those needs."

The realistic simulator features breathing sounds and baby cries.

"I think it's amazing to be able to come into lab and experience this before we actually, before we go to clinical and see it live there," said Emily Beasley, a nursing student at the college.

The nursing students make sure the baby is assessed and placed skin-to-skin with the mom.

"At first it is kind of scary because you don't know what's gonna go wrong because they obviously do have 12 different things that can go wrong with it," said Courtney Denney, another nursing student. "So, if you do make a mistake it's only on the mannequin."

The simulator can also be used for other conditions such as pulmonary or cardiac complications.

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