Justin Pratt

    As the medical simulation industry continues to grow, there are more manikin options than ever before. With so many choices, how do instructors know how to choose the right manikin for their program?

    When planning to purchase one or more manikins for a nursing program, here are the two most important things to consider.

    Number One: Price

    Of course, everyone would like to have unlimited resources to buy the latest and greatest high‐fidelity manikins, but the reality is that not every program has the budget for the higher-end simulators. Fortunately, with manufacturers such as Laerdal, Nasco, Simulaids, Gaumard, and others, dozens of options exist when it comes to choosing the manikin that will work best for a simulation program.

    When considering the price of a new manikin be sure to think about the big picture and overall state of the simulation lab. Does it make sense to spend on an $80,000 high-fidelity manikin? Or would students be better served to spread that funding out across the lab and fulfill other needs? Also, when considering price, keep in mind that the price of the manikin is just the starting point. Some manikins have add-ons like training, installation, warranties, and service fees. Whether these costs are upfront or annual fees, the simulation budget needs to take those dollars into account as well.

    Number Two: Functionality

    Explore features, benefits, and what is included in a simulator to make sure it will help teach the skills the student needs. Instructors know best what they need and want a manikin to be able to do. Be sure not to overspend by paying for advanced options that you and your students won’t use.

    For example, a good, basic manikin to instruct on placing a catheter and getting proper fluid return is the KERi Complete from Nasco. If students are learning more comprehensive diagnostics and patient care, the KERi Advanced comes with an IV and blood pressure training arm. Another option is to purchase the KERi Complete and a training arm only, and using the remainder of the money on other supplies. (Training arms are generally less than $1200.)

    A common theme I have heard from educators over the years is that they splurged on a manikin with too many features and don’t have the time to use it to its fullest potential. In other words, they paid $80,000 for a high‐fidelity manikin and only use it to 40 percent of its full potential. If that is a concern, one solution is to purchase a Nursing Anne Simulator with all the bells and whistles for a fraction of that cost and have funding left for beds, pumps, and headwalls.

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    For the programs lucky enough to have the budget to purchase a new simulator it pays to do the homework up front. Research the price, the cost for required add-ons, the cost to operate the simulator, and features the manikin has versus the features that are actually needed.

    Justin Pratt is a Pocket Nurse Account Manager; he can be reached at jpratt@pocketnurse.com. He says, “Any teacher, sim lab instructor, or procurement manager should always feel free to contact the Pocket Nurse Sales team. We are here to help in any way we can: answering questions, working with budgets, and helping complete a sim lab setup.”