MARIETTA - "Stan the Man," the nickname given to the human patient simulator at Marietta Memorial Hospital, may soon have new family members living "under roof" with him.
Called iStans, these life-sized simulators are eerily lifelike. Their eyes open and blink, and the pupils respond to light. Their thumbs twitch, lungs move up and down, and they respond to drugs they're given. Students can check their blood pressure and perform plenty of other real-life tests and procedures.
As part of a joint project between Marietta College, Marietta Memorial Hospital and Washington State Community College a $110,000 grant has been requested.
Tricia Schaad, associate professor of nursing at Washington State Community College, tends to her “patient” iStan. (Photo by Sharon Bopp)
Earlier this month, Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District submitted the grant application from Marietta College to the Governor's Office of Appalachia for review, said Gwynn Stewart, the district's director of communications.
With the grant money and a matching $110,000 in funds already raised, four additional iStans would be purchased: another man, a pregnant woman with a birthing baby, an infant and a young child, she said.
It will take six to eight weeks for Marietta College to learn if the grant has been awarded, Stewart said.
According to Stewart, there are two goals that must be achievable by GOA grant applicants in order to qualify: education and health care for the region involved.
"It makes good sense for tax dollars to be used for hands-on training for workforce skills in the health care arena," Stewart said.
Purchased in 2006, "Stan the Man" is "getting old," said Gloria Stewart, director of Marietta College's Physician Assistant program.
"He's not as mobile as the rest of the family (would be)," she added, thanks to advances in technology from iStan maker Laerdal.
Newer iStans can be moved to various locations.
"For example, the child could come here to Marietta College for a week," said Gloria Stewart.
These wireless, lifelike educational tools will provide additional knowledge to nursing and physician assistant students.
"Each simulator will provide students...the opportunity to practice their skills on a very realistic model prior to, maybe, an emergency situation on a real patient," Gloria Stewart said.
Nicole Humphrey, 27, of Marietta, a second year WSCC nursing student, was in agreement.
"It prepares you to handle situations much better than if you didn't have experience at all," said Humphrey.
Thanks to a generous benefactor, Washington State Community College purchased its iStan wireless patient simulator in late 2011.
Washington State's iStan was made possible through a gift by former board of trustees' member and WSCC Foundation board member John Greacen, in memory of his wife, Dorothy Fouss Greacen.
All the practice and learning at both locations helps both colleges, Marietta Memorial Hospital and those in the community who come into contact with "Stan the Man."
"It really helps Washington State as far as putting out better nurses and facilitating education towards better patient care," Humphrey said.
These iStan simulators also encourage college students from the Marietta area and beyond to do their studies at WSCC or Marietta College.
To date, Marietta College's Physician Assistant program has had 207 graduates. The program was started in 2002, with the first graduating class in 2004.
"Usually (students) will go back to the area that they're from, so we have a majority of people coming from Ohio and West Virginia," said Gloria Stewart. "Approximately 68 percent of graduates have remained within the region-Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania-within a four or five hour drive from here."