BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — The demand for registered nurses is something we are seeing nationwide.

Here in the Twin Cities, we’re told there are currently about 2,000 openings across the metro area. One of the reasons for the shortage of nurses is lack of enough faculty members to teach.

On Wednesday, we looked at how Rasmussen College is expanding its professional nursing degree programs, and the state-of-the-art simulation lab that students will be using.

New technology is changing just about everything, even the way people learn how to administer medical care and work with patients.
Most of us have seen the mannequins or dummies that are used to teach CPR, but few have seen the very life-like mannequins that cough, wheeze and even talk.

Marsha King, a nursing instructor at Rasmussen College, said that, in training, nurses treat the mannequin as though they were human.
This nursing simulation lab was just added to the Bloomington campus of Rasmussen. They are adding a nursing program there and on their St. Cloud campus this fall, to help meet the demand for registered nurses.

“This helps bridge that gap between theory and practice, gives the students a chance to have a hands-on experience in a safe environment with much more critical skills than they might be able to have in a clinical setting,” said Amy Mathhys, Rasmussen’s associate dean of nursing.

The behavior of the mannequins can be manipulated by a computer. They can simulate breathing problems and even cardiac arrest.
The mannequins also nursing students to practice putting in IVs, breathing tubes and even catheters.

“We can also let that pump be on and give him fluids,” King said. “We can make up some simulate blood and act like he’s getting a transfusion.”

One of the mannequins looks like a little boy and is designed to help students with the special skills needed to take of children.
There are also female versions of the mannequin that simulate pregnant women.

Simulation labs, like the ones at Rasmussen, are at some hospitals in the Twin Cities. They use them for additional training of the current staff.

If you are interested in the program, Rasmussen College is holding an open house at their Bloomington simulation lab Thursday at 2 p.m.