What’s New in Healthcare: Premature Baby Simulators

With a lot of new inventions and technology emerging nowadays, one could tell how far healthcare has come. The days when all nurses relied on when providing basic care 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 recover.

These new innovations do not only make the delivery of care easier and more effective, more importantly, they improve the quality of care provided by healthcare providers. These new wonders help nurses and doctors in their aim of saving lives, helping/training them on how to respond to a situation better, and honing their life-saving skills as well. Take for example, the appearance of premature baby simulators.

What is a premature baby simulator?

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

This mannequin which is considered healthcare simulation’s newborn possesses a realistic appearance and weight and 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 every 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 hard- and software architecture and to design and implement a simulator that enables training for assessment of 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 only 35cm long and weighing 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, which, also with its realistic appearance and weight would lead you questioning whether what’s right in front of you is really a premature baby or just a mannequin. This simulator supports training in proper breastfeeding positioning and attachment, correct nasogastric placement as well as spoon, cup and nasogastric tube feeding.

What are 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- are 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 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 preterm simulators are created

Just like other innovations in healthcare, these lifelike simulators were created for a reason. According to Jens-Christian Schwindt, Neonatologist and SIMCharacters CEO,for example, “Providing high quality care for a preterm baby is a uniquely complex and time-sensitive process which is extremely challenging for NICU inter-professional healthcare 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.”

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

They would be able to learn how to respond to several complex situations as well as discover ways on how they can improve their care through a realistic training experience. Eventually, this could lead to more lives being saved.


Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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