EMS Students Use Life-Size Manikin to Practice Procedures
Students in the Emergency Medical Services Program at the Center for Career Services are practicing the skills they’ve learned in class on a life-size manikin that simulates many of the symptoms that real patients present when struck with a variety of illnesses.
On a recent afternoon, instructor Hanifah Muhammad worked with two of her students, Melissa Pizzol, a senior at Sleepy Hollow High School, and Kaylah Jones, a senior at Rochambeau Alternative High School in White Plains.
Using a handheld monitor, Ms. Muhammad programmed the manikin, which was purchased last year through a Perkins grant, to respond to an asthmatic attack. The exercise, which took place in the classroom’s ambulance simulator, is the result of what might be an emergency call to Westchester County’s Dispatch Center, otherwise known as Central Communication (CenCom).
The simulation with 25-year-old “Sally” begins with her telling the dispatcher that she is experiencing an asthma attack. She is now lying on a gurney in the ambulance where she is being assessed by both students. Melissa, who is listening to the patient’s lung sounds, asks the patient several questions, including her name and if she’s had anything to eat. Kaylah also asks if she is allergic to anything and if she currently takes any medication.
While Kayla is conversing with the patient, Melissa is checking her pulse and other vitals and determines that the patient is wheezing bilaterally. “I’m going to give her oxygen at 12 to 15,” Melissa said, based on the results she got after examining her.
It is also important that they gain a medical history from the patient, said Ms. Muhammad. The manikin responds by telling them that she is on albuterol for the treatment of asthma.
Kayla continues to ask her questions, like “What were you doing before you had the attack?” The patient responds by telling the medics that she was going to pick up her child from school when she had an asthma attack, but then her inhaler did not work. The patient determines that the weather conditions were responsible for her attack.
Ms. Muhammad said the manikin, which can be programmed to record blood pressure, pulse and breathing, has been an effective tool in her classroom, especially as the students prepare for their 911 clinical rotations.
After each simulation, Ms. Muhammad explained that she and the students debrief to discuss treatment as if this was a real case. The exercise is also useful in helping students assess their own performance in terms of how long they were on the scene with a patient before they made a decision on treatment and what time that treatment was given.
Both students are interested in going into the emergency medical services field when they graduate from high school.
“I picked this class because I knew it would be more advanced,” said Kayla, whose ultimate goal is to become a nurse practitioner. I’m really enjoying it. Ms. Muhammad is a great teacher.”