A new kind of patient for Pierce

While the patients at Good Samaritan Hospital are humans, here at Pierce, trainee nurses work on dummies called SIM patients.

Sara Konu


Standing at his bedside, you can hear the breathing of the patient and watch his chest rise and fall with each breath.

A pair of nurses start to examine him. They take his blood pressure and ask him simple questions to which he responds yes or no in his voice.

At first glance this may seem to be a normal hospital scene, but it is in fact a carefully controlled environment for nurses in training at Pierce Puyallup.

The hospital, which is in the new Arts and Allied Health building looks realistic and has everything that a normal hospital does, including patients.

While the patients at Good Samaritan Hospital are humans, here at Pierce, trainee nurses work on dummies called SIM patients.

“At first, students are very frightened and intimidated,” nursing instructor Rebecca Piper said. “It’s a lot like acting when they’re working with the SIM patients, and some can’t get over the fact that it’s a mannequin.”

In total, 10 SIM patients are available for the students to practice on. The most commonly worked with being SIM-Man and METI-man. There are also SIM-infants and a SIM-Patient called Birthing Noelle, who in fact gives birth.

Each SIM has a purpose. METI-man is the most realistic with soft, pliable skin, a pulse and a complete respiratory system. SIM-man has similar features, however, unlike METI-man, he must be plugged in before he can take commands from the control panel. Because of this, he is permanently stationed in a hospital bed in front of the control room where instructors watch simulations from behind one way glass.

With SIM patients, students get experience with a variety of medical scenarios ranging from the everyday occurrences such as taking blood pressure and administering (simulated) medication to performing surgery on a broken bone or changing the dressing on gangrene toes.

“It’s a real-life experience without getting in there,” medical student Amanda Wurts said. “It’s good to be able to learn without the danger of hurting someone.”

When students go into the SIM room, they can expect the unexpected. Anything can happen from the sudden condition deterioration of a patient to the arrival of a hysterical loved one. The instructors do their best to make situations as life like as possible.

So far, the simulation hospital and SIM patients have received nothing but positive reviews from nursing instructors and students.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

A new kind of patient for Pierce

by Sara Konu time to read: 2 min