‘Sim Man’ the dummy shortlisted for Patient Safety award for East London NHS Trust

Sim Man being treated by East London NHS staff on their 'dummy run'

Sim Man being treated by East London NHS staff on their 'dummy run' - Credit: EL NHS Trust

A dummy has been helping 200 NHS staff in east London to ‘bone up’ on new medical procedures.

Now the simulated ‘patient’ named Sim Man, which reacts with symptoms such as a diabetic attack, has been shortlisted this week for a Patient Safety award.

Sim Man is a medical device with computer-controlled simulation technology which lets nurses and other medical staff refresh their skills or learn new ways of doing things without having to practice on real patients.

It is being used by the East London NHS Foundation Trust for their ‘dummy run’ medical refresher practice.

“Sim Man responds as a human would to verbal and practical interventions,” explained the trust’s chief physical health nurse Carol Shannon.

“He breathes, he coughs—and he yells if they don’t get it right!”

Staff quickly forget Sim Man is a dummy, apparently, and really “engage with ‘him’ as they would with a real patient,” according to Nurse Shannon.

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Its responses are controlled by a computer. Trainers watch how staff react to symptoms and programme it to improve or deteriorate—that gives the nurses and medics experience in the classroom which they can use back on the ward with confidence.

Sim Man can exhibit a severe allergic reaction, diabetic emergency, dehydration lethargy, breathing difficulties, reactions to medicine poisoning and emergencies that need a quick response.

The east London NHS is one of the first mental health trusts to adopt Sim Man, with its 200 healthcare professionals who have now taken part in simulation training.

Staff nurse Winifred Ametefe said: “It’s really helpful to practice on the dummy—it improves confidence to test skills safely in the classroom.”

Mental health patients often have poor physical health and are at higher risk than the general population, the foundation trust points out. They can develop medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and respiratory ailments, but are less likely to seek medical advice—or even be aware they are ill.