Human-simulating medical robot finds home in UHV nursing program
March 31, 2010 at 6:05 p.m.
Updated March 31, 2010 at 11:01 p.m.
James Corrigan is 72, at home receiving hospice care and he's dying of lung cancer.
The good thing about Corrigan is that with a quick reboot, he's all better.
Last week, the University of Houston-Victoria unveiled the SimMan 3G, the university's first human-simulating medical robot.
"We can have any type of situation happen," said Jere Hammer, a nursing professor at UHV. "It's as close as you can get to real."
The robot can be programmed to copy any symptom a nursing student might see in a real human in a real situation.
The human robot can have anything from indigestion to a heart attack.
Students can also draw blood, monitor vital signs and give it virtual medication to treat the simulated symptoms.
Stephanie Valdez, a senior of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UHV, had never used a simulation, she said.
Valdez graduated from Victoria College with her associate's degree and has been a nurse in the field for three years.
"It was different," she said about her first experience with the technology.
The simulation is almost like dealing with a real patient and can be a great educational tool for students, she said.
"It can do things that a normal person would do," Valdez said. "But if there's a symptom or something like a heart sound you don't normally get to hear in your job or in a clinical setting, it can be simulated here. Which is really neat."
The SimMan 3G cost just more than $60,000 and was part of a $205,000 grant awarded to the university through the M.G. and Lillie Johnson Foundation.
Corrigan won't be the robot's name forever, Hammer said.
She hopes to have a vote and see what name the school wants to name him, she said.
For now, he'll be there to help present and future nursing classes at the soon-to-be four-year university.
"Everything we do in nursing I think is heroic," Hammer said. "It's about caring and balancing that caring with technology."