Noelle’s blue gown peaked out from the soft pink blanket that covered her as she slowly breathed in and out. Her vital signs were displayed on a monitor beside her hospital bed as a group of people surrounded her. She was about to give birth, something she had done dozens of times before.
Noelle is a High Fidelity Tetherless Mannequin. All her movements are controlled using a small computer that can simulate various bodily functions such as breathing, blinking and even childbirth.
Noelle was on hand Thursday to help eight family medicine physicians in residence training at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler in a lab exercise designed to provide hands-on delivery room experience.
“We are going to simulate childbirth for these residents who may or may not have had much exposure to that in their medical school training,” clinical instructor Teresa Hunt said. “This is to help with the comfort level of the residents as they are entering that portion of their residency program that deals with childbirth.”
The exercise took place on the UT Tyler campus where simulators such as Noelle are used frequently to help the university’s nursing students.
This was the first collaboration of its kind between UT Tyler and the health science center, Ms. Hunt said.
During the exercise, Ms. Hunt controlled the mannequin using a small hand-held computer. Dr. John Shum, an obstetrics and gynecology physician from Mother Frances Hospital, was on hand to provide feedback and instruction for students as they went through the birthing process.
“These simulations give you the opportunity to make mistakes without it hurting an actual person,” family practice resident Amanda Higgs said. “That way, when you get into a real situation, you can remember what you learned here and actually apply it and have a much better outcome.”
UT Tyler and the health science center hope to continue these types of collaborations in the future. This particular exercise has been added to the orientation period for all first-year family practice residents at the health science center, Ms. Hunt said.
“It’s kind of exciting because there are not a lot of schools that either have this opportunity or seize this opportunity,” she said. “These simulations provide more varied experience for the health care physicians in the community, and as a result it will ultimately benefit the community.”