Simulation Manikins Help Healthcare Students Hone Technical Skills
Level 2 nursing students practice clinical procedures on a baby manikin.

Simulation Manikins Help Healthcare Students Hone Technical Skills

CNM’s healthcare students are practicing clinical procedures on specialized, high-tech manikins that react to various stimuli.
March 14, 2019

There’s a unique group of patients being treated at CNM’s simulation lab on Main Campus. The SIM Manikins are life-size, high-tech, reactive tools used by CNM healthcare students to practice medical procedures in a controlled environment.

Students in Level 2 or above classes are brought into a staged medical examination room and presented with ‘high- fidelity’ situations that are critical emergency-type scenarios. The SIMS are operated by a simulation team behind a one-way mirror. The team uses an intercom system to speak as a patient through the manikin. The SIM team also controls the anatomic symptoms of the manikins, like temperature, heart rate, pulse, breathing and even eye pupil constriction.

After the students complete a simulation, they are immediately assessed by instructors and given constructive feedback in a debriefing.

“A lot of simulations that we will do involve acute or critical situations,” says Drew Schneider, Simulation Education Specialist at CNM. “It gives us an idea of how much the learners know about that content and how they are able to put those skills into practice.”

Drew says that in some cases, especially early-on in the programs, students won’t be able to practice their techniques in a real clinical setting because, in an emergency situation, more experienced professionals will take the lead. The SIMs offer an authentic experience without the risk of harming real patients.


Experiencing high-stakes situations in simulation helps students learn to manage stress levels and better prepares them to work under pressure in real-world emergency situations.

“Technical skills practice has played a big part in developing my self-confidence,” says Selah Matey, a Level 4 nursing student. “The multiple code events during SIM helped me establish my CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator) skills.”

Selah says that the SIMs are a highly valuable part of her nursing education.

“I enjoy having a safe space in a pseudo-world that I can develop my practice in and receive constructive feedback,” she says. “I value what I’ve learned in SIM, especially being able to effectively communicate within a team when more than one student is present.”

Level 2 nursing student and former EMS student Michaela Morrow says that her experience with the SIMs was so authentically real that during her scenario she forgot she was in a simulation.

“This semester, we have so far coded a manikin in cardiac arrest, stopped a post-partum hemorrhage and saved a new born who wasn’t breathing,” says Michaela.

Michaela says that she’s grateful to have the opportunity to work in a simulation before experiencing a real clinical emergency.

“We are students at this point and are still learning how to properly perform these procedures,” she says. “I love that we got that ‘real-world’ patient experience without the risk of seriously harming someone.”

Learn more about CNM’s healthcare programs.