With a lot of new inventions and technology emerging nowadays, one can actually measure just how far healthcare has come. The days when all nurses had to rely on were their own instincts and religious beliefs, seem so far away now, and sometimes, one might even find it difficult to imagine how the nurses of yesterday were able to help their patients to recover.

These new innovations do not only make the delivery of care easier and more effective but more importantly, they improve the quality and standard of care that healthcare providers can deliver. These new wonders help nurses and doctors in their aim of saving lives, training them on how to respond to a situation better, and honing their life-saving skills as well. The appearance of premature baby simulators is one such game changer.

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What is a premature baby simulator?

A premature baby simulator is a convincingly lifelike pre-term simulator which helps to train medical teams for critical situations in pediatric emergency medicine under highly realistic conditions.

This simulated newborn possesses a realistic appearance and weighs the same as a newborn baby would, and it is designed to facilitate the training of healthcare professionals in the initiation of proper care and resuscitation of preterm infants. Specifically, it is considered excellent to use in the essential care for all kinds of baby training as well as in other training programs focusing on premature care, essential newborn care, and Kangaroo Mother Care.

The activities performed in the development of the premature neonatal simulator are research and design cycles to create a basic hardware and software architecture and to design and implement a simulator that enables training for the assessment of the newborn’s vital signs (Peters et al., 2010).

Some of the premature baby stimulators at present

A lot of preterm simulators have emerged in the market for healthcare use. Sim character’s Paul, for example, is considered as the most accurate recreation of a preterm baby born in the 27th week of pregnancy. It measures 35cm and weighs less than 1000g. Premature Anne, on the other hand, is a realistically proportioned 25-week preterm mannequin developed in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Another one is Preemie Natalie, whose appearance is so lifelike that it will leave you questioning whether what’s right in front of you is really a real premature baby or just a mannequin. It is difficult to tell the difference. This simulator supports training in the proper breastfeeding positioning and attachment, correct nasogastric placement as well as spoon, cup and nasogastric tube feeding.

What is the basis of the simulator?

Although the focus of the work is more on technology, the demands of each functionality implemented -and therefore the basis of the simulator- is based on real-life requirements:

  • Realistic display of clinical signs of a premature. The requirements are derived from the experience of medical staff in handling premature neonates. This also involves taking perception and human action possibilities into account.
  • Interactivity: Responses are generated using physiological models. The requirements are derived from the way the human organism works for real babies. Note that not only a healthy baby is to be simulated, but also the extremely unhealthy states of a baby that could occur immediately after birth.

Why have preterm simulators been created?

Just like other innovations in healthcare, these lifelike simulators were created for a reason. According to Jens-Christian Schwindt, Neonatologist and SIMCharacters CEO,  “Providing high-quality care for a preterm baby is a uniquely complex and time-sensitive process which is extremely challenging for NICU inter-professional health care teams. Our mission at SIM Characters is to improve the quality of care for critically ill preterm and newborn infants by advancing the realism and effectiveness of training simulators – this is why we have developed Paul.”

New technologies and new discoveries continue to come out each day, and this should be considered good news to the healthcare profession. With new inventions, like these simulators integrated into the profession, nurses and the rest of the healthcare workforce will be able to undergo more realistic and therefore more successful training in caring for critically ill premature and newborn babies without putting any patients at risk.

They will be able to learn how to respond many complex situations as well as discover ways in which to improve their care through this realistic training experience. Eventually, this could lead to more lives being saved.

What are your thoughts and share your experiences if you have received this kind of training?

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