- Associated Press - Friday, May 2, 2014

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) - Dorothy is 17 years old and pregnant for the third time. She has come to the hospital with abdominal pains, accompanied by her physician father.

When the nurses ask Dorothy for her name and date of birth, her father answers for her. He does so again when the nurses uncover a large bruise on her belly.

“She fell down the stairs,” he says, standing close to her bedside.

Throughout the exam, Dorothy moans in pain. She doesn’t speak until her father leaves the room.

“If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell?” she asks the nurses.

The nurses agree.

“I didn’t fall,” she says. “My dad hit me.”

Though plausible, the scenario is staged. Dorothy is a high-tech mannequin, her “father” is adjunct professor Brian Oxhorn and the nurses are students at Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson.

Simulation labs are used in nursing schools to give students realistic experiences in controlled settings. The labs look like hospital rooms, and mannequins serve as patients. They can simulate speech, breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and other functions.

In the exercise, Oxhorn wants his students to recognize abuse and ensure patient safety while treating a life-threatening condition.

He performs this scenario in multiple roles - the mean boyfriend, the nice boyfriend, the father and the father who is a doctor. Interestingly, the nurses view the physician father as an authority figure and rarely ask him to leave as they do in other scenarios.

But it’s OK to make mistakes.

“There’s no right or wrong,” Oxhorn said in mid-April. “It’s just what you did and what you learn from it.”

Simulation labs have been an industry standard for 10 to 15 years.

Roseman University has four high-fidelity mannequins on its campus: infant, child, adult man and pregnant woman.

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