Noelle gives birth, up to a few times a week. While in the hospital bed, nurses ask her questions, poke and prod her. She is able to answer their questions, but her pupils change and her heart rate increases. Sometimes, while giving birth, shoulder dystocia or a breech delivery occurs, and the nurses must quickly figure out how to solve the problem.
Although she acts like it, Noelle is not a real person, but a high fidelity mannequin used by the GCC nursing program and housed in the simulation lab on the third floor of the Bhupesh Parikh Health Sciences and Technology Building. Purchased by the college in 2005, she helps students prepare for aiding in an actual birth, allowing them to go through the steps of a birthing process.
Thanks in part to a $20,000 donation from the USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital, Noelle will soon not be the only pregnant patient in the simulation lab. GCC will be purchasing Lucinda, a newer model of Noelle, to help the nursing students practice for their clinical work in local hospitals. Lucinda will serve a dual purpose, as both a pregnant and a non-pregnant patient. The cost of a new mannequin can range from $80,000 to nearly $140,000.
Although the program currently has other mannequins, time and usage eventually wear them out. New technology makes the mannequins more lifelike and helpful to the students. The mannequins have a computer tablet that allows the mannequin to respond with short answers to the nursing students, as well as vomiting, coughing, and choking noises. There are also cameras and screens to record the interaction and help the students.
The nursing program also has other tools to give students the real experience needed for the real world.
“Nursing students that learn on mannequins provide high quality, safe care for real patients at our hospital,” said Andrea Terry, director of education for USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “The mannequin allows students to practice nursing skills until they are confident and competent at the skill.”
The program has between 150 and 200 students, with 40 new students accepted every semester. Last June the program had a 100 percent pass rate, which is a first for the program.
In addition, there are plans to expand the program, with a career ladder nurse grad program for working licensed vocational nurses to transition into a registered nurse. These students would be exposed to the simulation lab in their studies.
“Although CSU has not been excited to let us move forward to offer baccalaureate degrees, which we could with the quality of our faculty and facilities, I am very proud of the strong work that is done by the leadership of our nursing program to make those connections with colleges and universities so our students can be at their career in a reasonable period of time.” said college President David Viar.
“We will do that and expand wherever we can to ensure that does occur while CSU begins to accept that maybe it will help the whole industry if we did it as well.”
Glendale is currently affiliated with Cal State Fullerton, Cal State LA, and Cal State Northridge for students to complete their bachelor’s degree, which typically takes less than a year once the student transfers. After completing the program, many students end up working at local hospitals, including USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital, due to a partnership between GCC and the facilities.
Once Lucinda has arrived, the nursing program is planning on hosting a baby shower before she must give birth over and over again.