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FSCJ To Build State Of The Art Medical Simulation Center

Ryan Benk

Florida State College at Jacksonville’s nursing students will soon get the chance to practice on lifelike mannequins.

These patients will be able to speak, breathe and even die if their care isn’t good enough.

FSCJ nursing professors Joan Boyd, Caroline Keister and Dana Morris walk single file into the school’s medical learning lab Monday.

It’s a long room — reminiscent of a sanatorium — with rows of hospital beds on each side. No partitions; no private space. Even with the lights turned on, the open-mouthed mannequins attached to monitors are more than a little creepy.

The practice patients are only meant to resemble humans. They don't really feel like real people, but Professor Boyd said that’ll change soon.

“The newest mannequin in this room is five years old and how much has your computer advanced in five years?” Boyd asked.

Lawmakers recently approved $2 million for the public college to build a new medical simulation center with more realistic practice patients.  

Boyd said their pupils can dilate, they can go into cardiac arrest and they can even cry out in pain — all while responding in real time to the successes or mistakes of students.

“If the medication is given to it, the blood pressure on the mannequin or the heart rate, or the respiratory rate would adjust like it would if the patient got the medicine,” Boyd said. “So, it allows us to set our students up in a way that they treat a patient with a problem before they see a real person with that problem.”

FSCJ isn't the first institution in the state, or Jacksonville, that has access to the new medical simulation equipment, but with the new center, the college can accommodate more health care students — up to 1,200 total. There is currently no estimated timeline for the simulation center’s completion.