At CF, High-Tech 'Patients' Help Nursing Students Learn

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Mona was again ready to be a mother. It was shortly before noon one day a few weeks ago when the mother-to-be's heart rate became elevated, prompting a team of nursing students to gather for the birth. Mona is no rookie. She has given birth hundreds of time.

Several minutes later, College of Central Florida nursing student Justin Fender delivered the baby while two other student nurses, Heather Darling and Lynn Christolin, assisted in the delivery room. Seconds later, instructor Angel Marrero appeared, opened Mona's stomach and reloaded the baby.

"Let's try again," Marrero said quickly.

Mona is a simulation mother who gave birth to a simulation baby, mannequins that just arrived at CF. Mona was one of eight high-tech simulation patients that CF purchased. They occupy rooms inside the Health Sciences Simulation Center, which now resembles a floor at a hospital.

The simulation center is in what once was called the Cosmetology Building until CF officials decided to close down the cosmetology and barbering program about five years ago. Building 16, where the makeshift hospital is located, sits on the backside of the campus near the Margie N. Slaughter Health Sciences building.

The new simulation patients are lifelike. They are attached to real state-of-the-art monitors, just like the ones used in hospitals today. The mannequins actually breathe and have heartbeats. A professor behind a two-way mirror manipulates each patient's vital signs. The professor speaks for the patients through a microphone, relaying critical information that nursing students may need to diagnose a health issue.

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