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Meet Lucy, Waikato’s wireless maternity simulator

Waikato midwife educators Anna Ramsey, Deborah Cox and Pip Wright with Lucy and baby.

Photo: Waikato midwife educators Anna Ramsey, Deborah Cox and Pip Wright with Lucy and baby.

Lucy Sim is the new member of Waikato DHB’s midwifery education team – and her role is to give birth wherever, however and whenever required.

She is a mannequin, or to be correct a very realistic wireless childbirth simulator, which will help train midwives and others involved in childbirth on all the stages of delivery and on rare emergency scenarios.

One of Lucy’s main tasks is participating in training days that ensure midwives, nurses and other health professionals know what to do and how to work together if a maternity emergency arises.

Midwife educator Deborah Cox says their midwifery, nursing and multidisciplinary emergency training days have all been revamped since Lucy’s arrival.

“In the past we have had to rely on willing participants to role play, and obviously there were severe limitations on what we could show or do! With Lucy, it allows a much more realistic scenario and a lot more realistic detail for staff to practice with.”

This is modern medical simulating technology at its best, adding real value to training and improving the safety of women who find themselves in a birthing emergency.

Currently Lucy is based at Waikato Hospital’s Delivery Suite and the Waikato Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre at the hospital’s Hamilton campus, and is used for midwifery training as well as the annual refresher courses each midwife must do as part of their continuing certification. The team is hopeful that a logistic solution can be found for transporting Lucy to rural areas for local training as well, particularly for PROMPT (Practical Obstetric Multi Professional Training) which involves midwives, emergency department nurses, medical ward nurses, hospital doctors and often local GPs and paramedics learning to work together in emergency scenarios.

Rob Sinclair, director of Waikato Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, with the CAE Lucina Childbirth Simulator

Rob Sinclair, director of Waikato Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre, with the CAE Lucina Childbirth Simulator

Lucy’s full name is CAE Lucina Childbirth Simulator and she is produced by CAE Healthcare, a global company originating in Canada that focuses on simulation-based technologies and resources. Lucy was purchased for $145,000 in a combined effort by Waikato DHB and the Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre.  The purchase was viewed as a vital investment in maternity safety and the clinical skill development of staff.

Rob Sinclair, director of the centre, describes Lucy as “a  highly advanced and reliable birthing simulator purchased after much research in to the available options. She has proven to be very ‘productive’ and an excellent addition to our suite of human patient simulators.” She is only the second maternity simulator of her kind in New Zealand, and one of a number of specialised simulators Waikato Hospital uses for its clinical training.

Sinclair adds that midwives have embraced the whole notion of simulation-based education and the realism and practice that can now be achieved in a safe environment to acquire new skills and communication behaviours – without risking real patients.

Deborah Cox agrees. “Lucy does more than just simulate birthing; she brings health professionals together so we can have hands-on practice of challenging situations, discuss issues and learn to work effectively as a team.

“She’s a really important member of our maternity healthcare team.”

Deborah Cox, midwifery educator, with the maternity simulator Lucy

Deborah Cox at the screen which will record realistic data produced by “Lucy” in response to programmed training scenarios.

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