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Life-like child manikin improving training for Welsh student nurses

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A high-tech manikin of a five-year-old is helping student nurses at the University of South Wales learn to communicate with and examine young children.

The university is believed to be the first in Wales to invest in the state-of-the-art training model, which mimics the kind of behaviour expected from young children undergoing treatment in hospital.

“The new manikins will give our student nurses the opportunity to learn all about how young children can act and react when admitted to hospital”

Sarah Gethin Davies

It reacts to movement and can be programmed to speak and express emotions including anger, fear and pain.

The manikin is one of the training resources on offer at the university’s clinical simulation suite on its Gyntaff site.

Learning nursing skills in a simulated clinical setting is a key element of the university’s nurse education programme, allowing students to turn theory into practice in a safe and supervised environment.

Senior lecturer in child health and child nurse, Sarah Gethin Davies, said the manikin was a highly useful training tool that helped prospective nurses learn to work with young patients.

“From a teaching perspective, the new paediatric manikin - with its enhanced non-verbal responses and dynamic facial expressions, movement and speech – helps the student nurses learn skills of communication, examination and assessment of children in a safe simulated clinical environment in university,” she said.

In particular she said the dummy was useful for teaching students how to communicate with children who may be anxious, tired or in pain.

“The manikin reacts to movement and turns its head and can be programmed to speak and portray emotions including anger, amazement, scared, worried, anxiety, tears, lethargy - ongoing and transient pain, and it even yawns,” Ms Gethin Davies said.

“All these features add to the authenticity of the scenario, and enhance the simulated clinical experience for the students,” she added.

Students can also take blood and glucose reading from the dummy.

“The new manikins will give our student nurses the opportunity to learn all about how young children can act and react when admitted to hospital,” said Ms Gethin Davies.

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