Fourth-year UBC Okanagan nursing student Jasmine Worsford checks the vitals of Parker

UBC School of Nursing turns to technology to help with paediatric care

Donation provides new “child” simulator to help with student medical training

  • Dec. 7, 2015 5:00 p.m.

For anyone working in the medical field, they know the challenges they face helping a child in trouble.

Finding and treating what’s wrong can be difficult.Children have challenges communicating their feelings, are in tune with their parents’ anxiety, and have a unique perspective of the world.

To help their students prepare for these challenges, UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing has enlisted the help of six-year-old Parker, a mannequin that can simulate with stark realism lifelike behaviours —including lung and heart sounds — along with verbal responses.

“Paediatric simulation is a crucial part of our program as caring for children who are unwell presents unique challenges in nursing,” says School of Nursing Acting Director Sheila Epp.

“Learning to engage with children of all ages is a necessary skill and Parker gives our students the ability to learn how to work with and communicate with kids in an often complicated and emotional setting.”

Parker was purchased with a gift from The Colin and Lois Pritchard Foundation and will be used by third-year students training in paediatric nursing. This includes Okanagan College students who under a partnership agreement with UBC Okanagan, complete their first two years of nursing at Okanagan College and transfer to the university in their third year.

Known to be passionate about health care and health education in the region, Colin and Lois Pritchard established the Colin and Lois Pritchard Foundation. The family has previously partnered with UBC’s Southern Medical Program and Interior Health to establish the Pritchard Simulation Centre at the Clinical Academic Campus at Kelowna General Hospital.

“Nurses and other health care professionals work in very complex environments today” says Colin Pritchard. “We’re pleased to be able to help UBC Okanagan expand its simulation space and provide enriched training for nursing students so they graduate with strong skills that will benefit us all.”

Colleen DuManoir, Lab and Simulation Coordinator, says that Parker, a high-fidelity, Sim Junior mannequin, simulates scenarios like an asthma attack after playing soccer, or before and after an appendectomy.

“Simulation within our nursing curriculum allows students to hone their clinical and interpersonal skills in scenarios that evoke the real-world aspects of high-risk patient care,” says DuManoir.

Parker joins other simulators already in place at UBC Okanagan that are designed to bring real-world experience to academic settings.

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