By Kathryn Green
He breathes, his eyes dilate and his heart throbs in his chest, but SAM is not an ordinary patient.
SAM, the Super Assimilated Man, is the $150,000 new addition to BYU”s College of Nursing. He is setting the pace in technology for other nursing schools, said nursing instructor Carolyn Sutherland.
“We are the only nursing school in the state to have something like this,” she said.
SAM is a part of the break-through technology of the Meti Company in Sarasota, Fla., according to the company website.
He runs on a Human Patient Simulator program, making it possible for him to replicate a variety of medical traumas, Sutherland said.
“The mannequin can create scenarios where students can decide what care to give in a controlled environment and he will respond appropriately without putting anybody at risk,” Sutherland said.
Sometimes this low-risk factor makes for a key-learning environment, said Sonya Higbee, 22, a senior from Fairfax, Va., majoring in nursing.
“One time we accidentally gave him too much morphine and killed him,” she said. “I feel a lot more comfortable knowing that I can practice before actually working with people.”
“The mannequin responds just like a patient would,” Higbee said.
This HPS program also allows SAM to respond in the same manner as different types of people would – from old women to teenage boys, Sutherland said.
BYU”s nursing program has other mannequins for beginning nursing students, but Sutherland said these are not up to par with SAM”s sophistication.
The University of Utah has an older model of a similar mannequin in their medical school, but no other nursing schools have a model to compare.
“Our version was the first off of the assembly line,” Sutherland said.
SAM”s eyes dilate in response to bright light and his pulse can be felt in his chest and feet, she said.
“His heart”s been a little irregular today and we”re not sure why,” Sutherland said. “Maybe it”s all the excitement.”
SAM also breathes and urinates, Sutherland said. He runs on oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide just like a normal person, she said.
Jennifer Cowser, 22, a senior from Colorado Springs, Colo., majoring in nursing said she is excited to begin working with SAM.
“It”s much more realistic,” Cowser said. “Before we got the mannequin we just listened to a tape recorder of heart and breath sounds.”
“This is a good opportunity for us to get hands-on experience in a clinical setting,” Cowser said.
Sutherland said SAM will be used in intensive care unit classes, advanced medical and surgery classes and emergency room classes because of his trauma features.
Another benefit of having SAM will be during the Olympics in February. Students who cannot make it to Salt Lake because of the traffic can work on SAM as part of their post-op experience.