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Features USM Nursing Program Receives New Patient Simulators

USM Nursing Program Receives New Patient Simulators


Thanks to charitable donations of Southern Miss benefactors Chuck and Rita Scianna, the College of Nursing purchased three new patient simulators, one of which has already arrived on campus.

The patient simulator already in use by the College of Nursing is Named “Harvey.” The simulator was created by Laerdal Medical, a company that manufactures medical equipment and training tools, and is primarily used to simulate cardiac disease and lung issues.

“The great thing about ‘Harvey’ is that he is all encompassing,” interim associate dean for the College of Nursing Lachel Story said. “You can do a good bit with him.”

Xavier Agee is the simulations and IT specialist for the College of Nursing, and is the only person certified as a simulations specialist in Mississippi. He deals in the maintenance of the manikins and general technology for “the hospital” used by nursing students in the program.

“We have to do maintenance on [Harvey] a week before he is used to make sure all his parts are working,” Agee said. “I always gravitated toward health care but technology was my love. When me and my wife were dating, she was going through nursing school, so it felt like I went through a lot of the nursing school as well.”

Harvey has a full range of settings that ensures students are getting as close to the real deal as possible. These include controls for the heart, lungs and pulse of the manikin.

“This is important even for [nursing students] just starting off,” Story said. “One of the first things they do is learn how to take blood pressure and asses the heart and lungs. It is really hard for them unless they actually know what it sounds like before they hear it in a real person.  We can teach to them out of a book all we want, but there is no context without simulations.  It would be safe to say that we have the most state of the art nursing programs in the state.”

Story accredited this to their partnership with the National Simulation Study as one of the six colleges across the nation.

Harvey is not the only manikin that the College of Nursing has. From standard manikins to cadaver manikins, the College of Nursing has a lot of choices in patient simulators. One notable simulator is a SynDaver manikin the nursing college lovingly named “Anastasia Kate”.

“Kate” is a full-sized manikin that can be pulled apart from skin to bone and back and is primarily used for nursing students to practice spinal taps or epidurals. Kate is kept in a tank filled with a preserving liquid without its skin, due to the sensitive nature of the manikin.

Manager of Communications for the USM Foundation Karelia Pitts handles donations and gifts from donors like Chuck and Rita Scianna. Pitts states that even though the manikins are high cost, they offer long term benefits for the program and students. “It is hard to believe that something could be better than a real cadaver. But real cadavers have a short span of when they can be used and Kate does not,” Pitts said.

“Kate” and “Harvey” were both bought with a donation from benefactors Chuck and Rita Scianna. Chuck Scianna is a Southern Miss alumnus and Rita Scianna went to school for and practiced nursing.

The donation came after Chuck and Rita Scianna came to the groundbreaking for Asbury Hall, the current location of the College of Nursing.

Pitts explained the Sciannas have always been very involved with Southern Miss, which led to Rita Scianna initiating the gift used to purchase the simulation manikins for the Nursing Program.

The two other patient simulators are due to arrive by the end of the summer and students will be working with them in the beginning of the Fall semester.

Caleb McCluskey
Caleb McCluskey serves as News Editor of the Student Printz.
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