In the field of medical simulation, a manikin is a patient simulator that safely allows for the training of clinical skills, cognitive thinking and behavioral communication in a professional healthcare setting.  A manikin can be used in a real or simulated healthcare environment such as a medical simulation center.


A manikin can range in its level of realism from a low-fidelity manikin to high-fidelity manikin.  A low-fidelity manikin is a segmented clinical task trainer capable of a small number of specific tasks or procedures, such as an IV-arm or a CPR manikin.  A mid-fidelity manikin is usually a full-body simulated patient but with minimal computer components.  A high-fidelity manikin incorporates the latest in computer hardware technology, is commonly wireless and can be programmed to provide for a very realistic full-body patient presentation.  A high-fidelity manikin can be used a variety of high-stakes learning scenarios such as a mock code, postpartum hemorrhage or mass-casualty incident.

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Today, a manikin can be used in almost every aspect of healthcare education ranging from military para-rescue missions and first responder traumatic accidents to primary care simulation scenarios for nursing, medical and surgical training.   Manikins are produced from a range of companies around the world, including Laerdal, METI (now CAE Healthcare), and Gaumard just to name a few.

Manikins help learners engage in patient assessment by providing cues as to the patient’s state through the demonstration of vital signs such as pupil dilation, rate of pulse, rate of breath through chest rise and fall, or circulation through cyanotic discoloration. A manikin can also allow learners to safely administer medications as well as assess and treat simulated patients suffering from difficulty breathing, heart failure, a blocked airway, massive blood loss and many other healthcare simulation scenarios.

Professional healthcare educators and medical simulation staff usually add moulage and other props including wigs or clothing to their manikin to create a more realistic patient presentation.  Healthcare simulation scenarios incorporating a manikin are usually digitally recorded through a learning management system such as B-Line or Studiocode so that afterwards participants can examine their own performance in a debriefing session.

Check out the Laerdal, METI (now CAE Healthcare) and Noelle pages to learn more about manikins.

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