NCK Tech Nursing Program Receives Patient Communication Simulator

ALEX has joined the staff at NCK Tech in the nursing program. ALEX is like no other; ALEX is intelligent, advanced and listens to every word. ALEX is a full-body, 45 lb. patient simulator with advanced communication skills.  The Patient Communication Simulator (ALEX), purchased from funds awarded to NCK Tech through the Kansas Board of Regents Innovative Technology Grant, will assist students in improving communication with clients and patients.

“The use of the ALEX Patient Communication Simulator will be added to the already established communication touching points within each program’s curriculum,” stated Sandy Gottschalk, VP of the Hays Campus and the grant writer. “The simulator will be used to enhance the student’s use of non-therapeutic and therapeutic techniques.  Students will be able to practice their communication techniques in a safe learning environment.”

According to Michele Unrein, Director of the Hays Nursing Program, the use of ALEX goes far beyond communication. “ALEX can be used for assessment including blood pressure, lung, heart and bowel sounds and we can even do chest compressions. The simulator has IV access and is preprogrammed with a wide variety of scenarios.”  One scenario that is of particular interest of instructor Sheri Stone is when ALEX takes on the persona of “Michael.”  “‘Michael’ is an alcoholic,” states Stone. “He will answer questions regarding his alcohol abuse and how much he drinks. I am anxious to use this scenario when training students on how to deal with patients in such touchy situations.”

“The impact ALEX will have in the classroom and lab is enormous,” says Unrein. “The ability to expose our students in a controlled setting can only improve their communications skills.” ALEX speaks in English, French, and Spanish and programmed for more languages.  The simulator answers questions in regards to medical history, social and family history and can even discuss health maintenance.

ALEX’s (AI) artificial intelligence is controlled simply with a tablet and an internet connection. The more conversations with ALEX, the more the simulator learns.  “Our students are being trained with cutting-edge technology,” said Unrein. “We are preparing them for the evolution of the medical field.”

For more information on NCK Tech and the nursing program, visit www.ncktc.edu.

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