Labor and delivery nurses at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove can practice their skills on a new lifelike mannequin designed to simulate 30 birthing scenarios. These nurses recently helped "Maggie" the birthing simulator deliver a healthy "baby" during a mock birth at the hospital.
The birthing simulator's heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs are displayed on a computer monitor -- as are Maggie's contractions -- just as they are for actual patients in the labor and delivery unit. The fetal heart rate of the robotic baby also is visible, providing real-time feedback.
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"This is the worst pain ever!" said Maggie, who can be programmed to say anything a woman in labor might exclaim.
Nurses can practice epidural procedures on a spinal cord insert; the system has sensors that log the moment the needle has gone too far and when it has entered the correct location. They can also deliver a simulated baby in the breech position and practice cesarean sections using real surgical instruments.
"Our purpose is to make sure these scenarios are as lifelike as possible to encourage authentic interactions among nurses," said Dikera Gutierrez, an educator consultant at Good Samaritan Hospital.
Maggie is named after the Magnet Recognition Program, the highest national honor for nursing. Magnet recognition is achieved by only 7 percent of hospitals nationwide, including Good Samaritan.