Manikins On The Move:

A first grade student at Skyline Elementary School in Stillwater, listens to the heartbeat of a SimMan 3G manikin that recently visited her classroom. The simulation technology is a key training component of the health career programs available at Meridian Technology Center.
A first grade student at Skyline Elementary School in Stillwater, listens to the heartbeat of a SimMan 3G manikin that recently visited her classroom. The simulation technology is a key training component of the health career programs available at Meridian Technology Center.

The next generation of doctors and nurses patiently took their turn treating a life-like manikin that recently visited their first grade classroom at Skyline Elementary School.

From listening to its heartbeat to administering its medications, Madison Cannon and 18 of her classmates were able to use the manikin to explore the basics of science and how doctors and nurses make decisions when treating patients.

“I got to feel his pulse in his feet,” she said with excitement that was evident from behind a surgical mask that covered most of her petite face. “But when I used the stethoscope it didn’t go thump, thump, thump like I thought it would,” she added. “It was really loud though.”

Dustin Hicks, a Practical Nursing instructor at Meridian Technology Center, used the manikin as a hands-on component to a lesson he taught the class about germs and what it is like to have a career in the medical field.

“We want kids to see that science can be fun and to see the types of careers that are available to them in the health care industry,” he said of Meridian’s effort to bring technology to the hands of district residents. “If you look around the classroom it’s easy to see the sense of wonder that these students have.”

Using clips from the popular children’s show “Sid the Science Kid” Hicks guided students through a mini-lesson about what germs are, where they are found and how they can prevent germs from spreading.

Skyline teacher Jenny MacDonald was thrilled to have Hicks spend part of the afternoon with her class. Throughout the year she has stressed the importance of washing their hands and other ways to help eliminate the spread of germs.

“This is great timing considering all of the various colds and bugs that have been going around,” she said. “The kids have been looking forward to having Mr. Hicks and his robot come to class today. They have barely been able to contain themselves this week.”

Following Hicks’s discussion, student Noah Walker expanded on MacDonald’s lessons and offered his own tips on how to keep from getting germs.

“If you just wash your hands really good, like for 20 minutes, then you won’t have any germs,” he confidently explained to his classmates. “That’s the best way to keep from getting sick.”

Hicks also spent time talking to students about skills that are necessary for a career in the medical field.

“Subjects that are really important are reading, math and science,” he explained. “You have to be really, really good at those to become a doctor or a nurse.”

He demonstrated this by showing students how syringes are used to measure medicine that is given to patients, including the manikin.

Learning Brought to Life

The manikin that visited MacDonald’s classroom is one of the four high fidelity simulation manikins that Meridian has available for training purposes. The school has three SimMan 3G adult manikins and one SimBaby manikin. Routinely, doctors, nurses, emergency responders and others have used these manikins to simulate scenarios that health care providers may encounter when treating patients. This is the first time that a manikin has left its bed at Meridian and traveled to an outside training exercise.

“Bringing technology into our partner school districts was a part of the plan when Meridian purchased these manikins,” Hicks said. “We wanted to make the simulated learning experience accessible to future health care workers as well as those currently in the field.”

In addition to allowing students to explore hands-on patient care, Hicks detailed the processes that doctors and nurses use when working with patients. 

“Everything starts with assessing the situation,” he told his eager and wide-eyed audience. “Once you have an idea of what is taking place then you can then move on to diagnosing the problem, creating a plan for treatment, implementing a plan and then evaluating the outcome.”

Hicks reiterated that this process is applicable to any project that students may encounter. He also explained to students that by using these high-tech simulators and real-time demonstrations, medical personnel are able to practice their current skills and learn new ones in a safe environment.

“In the real world there is no room for error,” he told them. “If the wrong decision is made, it has serious implications for the patient. That isn’t the case using the robot.”

"I want a life as a forensic anthropologist."
- Savannah Jenkins,
Biotechnology