Bob the simulator

They call him Bob – but he’s not a real person.

He’s a human patient simulator, a kind of high-tech mannequin that Jersey Shore Hospital health care professionals use to mimic the practices of real-life medicine.

Nurses can check his pulse or blood pressure. They even can talk to Bob, and he’ll answer back.

“We can do simulated cases,” said registered nurse Lori Englert. “It increases patient safety and skills.”

Bob’s real name is SimMan Essential, and he has multiple functions. When he breathes, his chest rises and falls.

“We can actually start an IV,” Englert said. “He can be hooked up with blood.”

Actually, the blood is distilled water, but the simulation is there.

“You can feel his pulses,” said registered nurse Cathy Gibson. “It’s really life-like.”

Barb Wool, manager of health education, controls SimMan by laptop computer.

“This is a way of practicing skills without compromising patient safety,” she explained. “It improves critical thinking and team communication.”

Invasive procedures such as intubation can be performed as well.

While Englert performs a certain procedure on the mannequin, Wool can communicate his verbal responses to pain or other feelings.

“We can pretty much mimic patient scenarios,” Wool said. “We can re-inflate a collapsed lung.”

Health care professionals were trained last week on using Bob.

The plan is to use Bob for various medical training including CPR and advanced cardiac life support classes.

Wool and Englert said Bob is simply an invaluable learning tool.

“As we go along, we have to develop scenarios we need to address,” she said. “We might find we need to improve in certain areas.”

The nurses can pre-program any of several patient situations.

Equipped with a debriefing system, SimMan allows for quick reviews of student performances to enhance learning.

The mannequin was given to the hospital through its medical malpractice insurance.