Today’s nursing and other health care students learn how to care for patients by working with highly realistic, high-tech manikins. At Georgian College, those manikins come to life with real-world medical needs, thanks to the expertise of simulation technologist Yvonne Galbraith.
Now, Galbraith has been honoured by her peers with the inaugural SIM Citizenship Award from SIM-one, the Ontario Simulation Network. SIM-one is a not-for-profit organization that connects the simulation community, facilities, resources and services across the province. Fully supported by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, SIM-one’s vision is to further position Ontario as the global leader in healthcare simulation.
The SIM Citizenship Award pays tribute to those who have made outstanding contributions in education, teaching, creative professional activities in the Ontario healthcare simulation field. Galbraith received her award at the 2013 Ontario Simulation Exposition in Toronto Dec. 5 and 6.
Galbraith combines her love of nursing with her love of art in her role at Georgian. She creates realistic scenarios for critical care nurses, Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Practical Nursing students to tackle in the simulation lab. There, the manikins can be programmed to offer students a “patient” exhibiting a huge range of medical symptom and conditions.
While Galbraith has been honoured for her pioneering work in simulation, she has also been busy exploring a low-cost and low-tech simulation alternative that students can use at home. She calls it the “Study Buddy” – a manikin made in the shape of a human torso using polyester fibre as stuffing, covered with duct tape.
Previously, Galbraith told her students they could practise their techniques at home, pretending that a pillow was their patient. The Study Buddy adds a layer of realism for students practising giving injections, taking blood pressure, removing sutures, and more. Best of all, the Study Buddy only costs about $23 to assemble.
Galbraith’s passion for art led her to complete a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art through a collaborative program at Georgian while working as a nurse and teaching at the college part-time. She has exhibited her art – which focuses on hands and healing, internationally, including Spain and Chicago. She has also co-written a children’s book with her son is involved in a community project to help raise funds for a well at a malaria clinic in the African nation of Tanzania.