One of the most challenging aspects of caring for a baby is that they cannot tell you when something is wrong. When a baby cries, it could mean it is hungry, tired, wet, sick, or a multitude of other things. This places healthcare professionals in a precarious position when attempting to treat a baby. As they only have visual cues to help them recognize distress or illness, they must be trained to recognize these cues without putting the baby at risk.
As Jim Archetto of Gaumard and Mike Kirk of Nemours Children’s Hospital demonstrated in their Good Day Orlando interview, a high-fidelity simulator like Super Tory can be used to train healthcare professionals in life-saving skills.
Super Tory is a training device that can realistically mimic symptoms and signs of illness. She was designed, developed, and manufactured with the help of doctors to better understand how a real baby moves, acts, and cries. Thus, Super Tory is incredibly lifelike and can realistically perform the actions of a real baby.
Realism is important in training doctors, nurses, and first responders because it provides them with an immersive and visual tool to help them recognize the cues important to diagnosing a baby. Practitioners of the simulation can master these critical skills without distressing a real and sensitive patient like a baby.
As Archetto pointed out, the objective is to make sure that healthcare professionals have the best training, so when they are confronted with a real patient, they are prepared to treat them.
Super Tory’s lifelike qualities help participants better empathize with her and allow for a deeper immersion. She weighs 8 pounds, produces realistic sounds like crying and breathing, her chest rises and falls, and her limbs move as a real baby’s would. The ports on her chest allow her to be hooked up to a real EKG and she will send real signals to the machine.
Moreover, she is not connected to wires and is controlled with a Surface Pro tablet. Therefore, an instructor can present any clinical condition they want to train their students to recognize and treat without disrupting the simulation or the immersion. For example, a common test a physician might perform on a baby is to check the capillary refill time to assess if blood is getting to the baby’s extremities. Participants can pinch Super Tory’s left foot, and her skin will blanch like a real baby’s skin would. The participants can then count how many seconds it takes for the skin to change back to its normal color.
This procedure is important because when children get sick, they start to shift their blood flow from the extremities to their core. So, if something is wrong with a baby, this is a simple test doctors can use to assess the baby’s health quickly. No fancy device or lab tests are needed to perform this crucial life-saving technique.
Furthermore, Super Tory has tiny veins on her arms with simulated blood and a realistic umbilical cord. These features allow instructors to train participants to draw blood more accurately. Students can practice how to quickly and correctly find a vein, so a real patient does not suffer through multiple needle pricks. Students can also practice placing an IV or a catheter. This way, they master a skill that is important without harming a real patient.
Super Tory’s realistic features make simulation training incredibly immersive and comprehensive. With Super Tory, institutions gain the ability to train their students in a much more thorough range of healthcare skills without risking patient safety. At a time when the U.S. is experiencing a nursing shortage and students are finding it difficult to complete clinical hours, simulation training is a good solution to these issues. Training with simulators can help students complete many of the clinical hours they need and help get more qualified and highly trained healthcare professionals to enter the workforce.