College students get ambulance simulator for hands-on training

The simulator looks like a real ambulance with flashing emergency lights and standard equipment; students practice procedures on lifelike mannequins


ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Students at one North Carolina college are getting hands-on emergency medical training thanks to a new high-tech ambulance simulator.

The Virginian Pilot reported the College of the Albemarle acquired the $50,000 simulator two weeks ago.  The simulator looks like a real ambulance and includes flashing emergency lights and all of the necessary medical equipment found on a regular ambulance.

 “We’re putting them in an environment like they were on the street,” said EMS education coordinator Samuel Mickey.

Students also have medical mannequins that can talk, breathe, blink and have heartbeats.  They can  be programmed to regurgitate liquid, have labored or shallow breathing and experience tongue swelling, a closed airway and stroke-like symptoms.

While students are responding to the mannequin, a computer senses and records the procedures being done.  If the student gets the treatment wrong, the mannequin will die.

“We can reinforce what they did right and they can learn from experience what they did wrong,” Mickey said.

Over the course of five months, the students will complete 272 hours of class, lab and field work.  The ambulance simulator and mannequins will be a crucial part of the training.

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