life-like patient simulator which gives clinicians hands-on practical
experience of treating physical as well as psychological conditions has been
introduced at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).
The full-size 'Sim Man' was purchased with a generous £27,000 donation from
Health Education East of England. He is now being used in the simulation suite
at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich to recreate a wide range of different
scenarios so that staff can improve their communication skills, confidence and
team-working, as well as the way in which clinicians respond to a deteriorating
The mannequin is controlled remotely using a computer software system, and can
cough, breath and hold a conversation with doctors and nurses to explain how he
is feeling. Fully interactive, he can develop a huge range of physical
conditions to test clinicians’ knowledge and decision-making skills in a safe
The Sim Man sessions will focus on the concept of ‘diagnostic overshadowing’,
which will prompt clinicians to think about whether someone’s physical symptoms
are being caused by their mental health problem.
Doctors and nurses at NSFT will be able to use him to practice their basic
observation skills, take measurements such as pulse and blood pressure or hone
techniques such as cannulisation. While this is taking place, the Sim Man can
be programmed to become agitated or non-complaint, in turn making the training
The mannequin can also be used to simulate specific emergency situations, such
as a patient’s airway becoming blocked, a drugs overdose or suffering a bleed
on the brain following a fall.
Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing with NSFT, said: “We are very grateful to
Health Education East of England for funding this fantastic patient simulator.
He will make real difference to our staff by giving them the chance to develop
their team working and communication skills.
“The Sim Man will give them the chance to take and respond to physical
observations and test their decision-making if the patient’s condition suddenly
deteriorates. People with mental health problems can be agitated or
non-compliant, or may be taking medication for other conditions which affects
their behaviour, so being able to recreate those scenarios in a safe
environment will be incredibly valuable for our staff.
“We are looking forward to rolling out the opportunity for training to
colleagues across the Trust and making good use of this state-of-the-art
equipment to help us further improve safety and quality at NSFT.”