Computer-controlled patient for pharmacy students
A life-size ‘mock patient’, who can talk, wheeze, groan and bleed, is the centrepiece of a suite of clinical teaching laboratories at the Medway School of Pharmacy.
Costing over £30,000, the computer
-controlled mannequin, known as ‘Sim Man’ was the first such training tool to be used in any pharmacy school in the UK.
Trainee pharmacists use the realistic model to get hands-on experience of professional skills such as taking blood, putting in a drip and seeing how patients respond to drugs.
Mock hospital ward
'Sim Man' is an inpatient on a mock hospital ward, part of the Clinical Skills Laboratory at the Medway School of Pharmacy. This is fully-equipped with real hospital beds, curtains and examination couches. Also resident in the lab is a different type of body: a full-sized skeleton, packed with removable organs, including the heart, spleen, liver and kidneys.
Over the counter – and behind the scenes
Other facilities in the school include the Over the Counter Laboratory, an exact recreation of a high street or community pharmacy, with all the familiar medicines and products on display.
Here students practise using the equipment needed for routine checks which are now on offer in many community pharmacies, such as blood pressure meters and peak flow breathing test kits. They also learn to demonstrate the use of inhalers and nebulisers.
The nearby Dispensing Laboratory recreates what lies behind the scenes in every pharmacy, including locked cupboards for the storage of controlled medicines. Students learn about what goes into drugs in the Pharmacy Technology Laboratory, where they analyse pharmaceuticals, crush tablets, dissolve powders, and heat up substances in order to get to their active constituents.
Lastly, a Medicines Information Centre offers library and reference materials about all aspects of the profession.
Responding to treatment
Head of Medway School of Pharmacy, explains: "Sim Man’ can talk to students, letting them know that a particular treatment hurts him, for example".
"He can also display the symptoms of a wide range of cardiac and respiratory illnesses such as heart attack, bronchitis and pneumonia. He reacts to students’ attempts to treat him and he can even be programmed to ‘die’ and then respond to resuscitation attempts."