Mont Alto hosts childbirth simulator demonstration for students, professionals

Campus hopes to add simulator as training aid for nursing students
Childbirth simulator demonstration at Penn State Mont Alto

Penn State Mont Alto sophomore nursing student Jenna Stoner assists in a simulated birth with Lois Orndorf, instructor in nursing and obstetrics. Penn State alumnus Mike Monderer, regional sales manager at CAE Healthcare, monitors the simulator on a laptop.

Credit: Debra Collins

MONT ALTO, Pa. — On March 2, Penn State Mont Alto hosted a Lucina childbirth simulator demonstration by CAE Healthcare. Attending the demonstration were 11 members of the Penn State community, donors who are passionate about health care training, as well as representatives from four area hospitals.

The Lucina childbirth simulator is a lifelike, 5-foot-9-inch, 111-pound mannequin that includes a 5.5-pound birthing fetus that is used to give nursing students practice in a variety of labor and delivery scenarios, which are surprisingly real.

“I’m starting to feel the urge to push,” screamed Lucina during the demonstration. The human simulator speaks, moans and blinks her eyes. The fetus also cries on cue.

Each simulation is controlled by the instructor, who sets the childbirth to a normal delivery or a variety of obstetrical emergencies. Vitals of the mother and infant are displayed on a special monitor as students make decisions and deliver the necessary care. If they don’t, their patient may parish, but no one is at risk. Lucina can simply be reset, and the situation can be practiced again and again.

Penn State Mont Alto sophomore nursing student Jenna Stoner assisted in a simulated birth along with Lois Orndorf, Penn State Mont Alto instructor in nursing and obstetrics. “It’s nice to be able to practice the different types of delivery,” she said.

The advantage of using simulation, according to Orndorf, is that it gives students the ability to practice nursing skills in a safe environment.

“While doing their clinicals, three students might see a delivery while five might not,” she said. “With simulation, you can practice a delivery in a safe environment and have the chance to repeat it.”

Mike Monderer, a 2001 Penn State alumnus and CAE Healthcare regional sales manager, demonstrated the simulator.

“Lucina was over three years in the making,” he said. “Lucina is named for the Greek goddess of childbirth.”

The Mont Alto campus hopes to add Lucina to its nursing program. The simulator costs about $93,000 and has a projected life span of five to seven years. If purchased, the simulator will join i-Stan, a human simulator that has been in use at the Mont Alto campus for the past eight years.