Tuesday, March 19, 2013
On birthing fake, plastic babies.
There are moments in nursing school that are stressful, funny, chaotic, infuriating, wonderful, and sad.
And then there are moments that are straight up ridiculous. I'd say 99% of those moments involve our school's "high fidelity mannequins." They are plastic dummies, but we're supposed to call them "high fidelity mannequins" so as not to hurt their fake, plastic feelings. Seriously these things are literally worth their weight, and then some. Like tens of thousands of dollars worth of robot. If there were a horrible fire at school, and the administration had to choose who the firemen would save between the mannequins and the students...
well let's just say the mannequins have better insurance policies.
We have these simulations with the high fidelity mannequins, and have had them from the beginning, when it was just baths and changing sheets. We've taken the mannequins' vitals (and they have vitals, heart sounds, pulses, and respirations, because (dramatic pause), THEY'RE ALIVE!). We've given them meds, blood transfusions, IVs. Two semesters ago we lost a mannequin. He flatlined in a tragic code, despite our heroic rescue attempts. I haven't mentioned it on this blog, because I'm still grieving. I'll never forget the look in his shiny doll eyes.
Taking a moment to collect myself. Moving on.
This semester things have gotten even more fun. Because guess what? Mannequins come in all kinds of varieties, like child size! And pregnant!
There is nothing quite as soul destroying as having to practice nursing care on a glorified doll (if my school knew I called it a "doll" right then I think they would expel me on the spot). Not only do we get videotaped and then have to watch it back, but the simulation objectives always, always, include "practice loving kindness."
Pause for a moment.
I am 27 years old and I get graded on practicing loving kindness to a giant Ken doll.
To be fair I've gotten used to it. I'm a little better at keeping a straight face when my mannequin says things like (oh yes, it TALKS, and cries, and bleeds and poops and sweats and wheezes, there is no limit to what these things can and cannot do) "I don't feel well."
Today was a first though. Today's simulation ended with the arrival of new mannequin life into the world. Of course we didn't know in advance. We never do. The teachers like to keep the simulation mysterious and secretive, like we're going in to elect a pope.
We got in the room today to get "report", on a homeless, drug addicted teenage pregnant girl and within minutes our patient was crowning. Just picture this beautiful, nugget of a moment.
With one arm I'm holding the mannequin's leg as far up as it would go toward the ceiling (I think she can technically sue me for sexual assault now), with my other hand (warning this is about to get as graphic as any conversation about plastic will get), I am sticking my fingers into her hoo haw to keep the umbilical cord away from the baby's head. I am also alternately shouting "breathe!" and "push!" and "you can do it!". The mannequin is shouting back at me "don't touch me!" and "mommmy!"(our teachers control what they say from a little man behind the curtain set up in the room). My classmate across from me is doing the same thing with the other leg. Another classmate is gowned and gloved at the foot of the bed, delivering the plastic baby that is rapidly coming out of our mannequins lady bits, because our "doctor" is stuck in traffic.
That is literally something that happened to me.
And it is about only the 50th weirdest thing that has happened to me in nursing school.
Also, it is my worst fear to be alone at my school at night. Because you just know it is a horror movie WAITING to happen with all of those talking, coding, baby birthing mannequins all over the place.