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Mannequin Phobia

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by KD34 KD34 (New Member) New Member

104 Visitors; 2 Posts

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Ok, don't laugh...I have no problems talking to patients or doing/understanding the clinical skills in a real clinical setting; however, whenever I go into Sim lab or do a skills check off with the mannequins I feel like I can't breath and I can't think or remember anything.  I've tried going in to the lab to practice and desensitize myself.  Sometimes, I just go in and sit with them.  I'm not very good at talking to them, and I have a difficult time pretending they are real.  They're creepy.  Does anyone else have a problem with this?  I know this ultimately will not be a problem after nursing school, but I need to be able to work with the mannequins in order to pass the program.  Does anyone else have a problem with this or a suggestion? 😕

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

2 Followers; 29,031 Visitors; 4,104 Posts

I agree. They're super-creepy. It sounds like you're doing a good job coping, though. I can't say I was ever scared of them, but I wouldn't want to wake up and find one in my bed.
Are you passing your check-offs? If you are, just keep going and get through it.

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104 Visitors; 2 Posts

I'm passing the check-offs, but I'm not doing very good in simulation lab where the mannequins synchronously breathe and blink and they through you into situations where you have to solve problems with your peers.  I've already gotten 2 unsatisfactory grades this semester in simulation, and now I have to go talk to the DON.  I'm just afraid they're gonna fail me out of the program because I suck at pretending mannequins are real patients.

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3 Followers; 25,998 Visitors; 5,285 Posts

Well, I thought I'd heard everything, but I was wrong...

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ThatChickOmi has 1 years experience.

1,449 Visitors; 106 Posts

Punch it in the face.

 

 

(disclaimer: don't do that)

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9,265 Visitors; 1,387 Posts

I'm wondering if getting an in-depth tour and being given time to play around with equipment and get comfortable in the space would help decrease some of the anxiety you feel. It sounds like you are already trying to give yourself more exposure to decrease anxiety, but I'm wondering if going a step further would be helpful?

I have a family member who works in a simulation lab and loves to show off the mannequins and the simulation space. All a student need do is ask and he's happy to set an appointment up to give them a full tour, including allowing students to poke through cupboards, experiment with the equipment (supervised), show off the inner working of the mannequins, take them back to the control booth and show how the audio works, etc and answer any and all equipment & technology related questions to help students feel more comfortable with the space and confident in their ability to find and operate equipment.  Do you think the simulation staff at your school would be open to something like this?

Alternatively - is it more of a difficulty "pretending" and phobia of acting (or preforming in front of others) that are driving your anxiety? In this case it may help to spend time acting situations out at home - with family or friends just to stretch you acting muscles so it doesn't feel so awkward in clinical.

Depending on the level of anxiety / panic you are feeling in simulation it may also be appropriate to seek out assistance from your medical provider and/or a therapist (student health could be a good place to start) to address this fear.

 

Edited by verene

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1,642 Visitors; 364 Posts

They're not creepy.  The ones that talk to you and move and react, they're creepy.

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lehaley1989 works as a 4th Semester ADN Student, Telemetry Monitor Tech.

690 Visitors; 78 Posts

Honestly, I feel like this is fairly common. My classmates and I have frequently talked about how our minds go completely blank when we're in simulation or doing skills check-offs. Not only are they creepy, it's just really difficult to fake interactions with a stinking doll! It also doesn't help that you know you'll be watched by an instructor when you're doing sim or a skills check-off. That's a lot of pressure! I'm in my last semester, have probably done 10-15 simulation experiences, and I still get extremely anxious and do silly things every time I have one. Thankfully sims aren't graded in our program, they're just viewed as a "safe space to practice". 

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163 Visitors; 13 Posts

I'm just remembering the first episode of Dr. Who right now 🤭. Mannequins can be very creepy.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

2 Followers; 7,449 Visitors; 2,121 Posts

So...when you go to practice the skills on a real person, is that going to creep you out?  Because we practice on the mannequins so we don't mess up in real life. You don't have to interact (much) - but you'll need to figure a work-around to get you out of the skills lab and into real life. Good luck!

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454 Visitors; 91 Posts

Just chiming in to say that yes, they are super creepy. :(

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22 Visitors; 5 Posts

I think you are focusing on the wrong thing. The mannequin. The fact that you cannot view the mannequin as a real patient is not the source of your anxiety. The source of your anxiety is feeling as though you are acting on stage because you have to "pretend." You have stage fright. And no amount of sitting with those things is going to help you, unfortunately lol. It's just a matter of doing the simulation over and over and gradually becoming more confident. My anxiety was through the ROOF when I first began them. I just had to learn to pretend no one was really watching and not worry about whether I do everything perfectly. You will NEVER do everything perfectly so don't worry about how you sound talking to the mannequin or whether you forget a step. Just concentrate on dealing with whatever issue they present to you. At my school, the instructor and other students are watching you perform and then you are debriefed afterward and they tell you what you did wrong. Oh the joy! I have simulation tomorrow and so reading this helps get me in a good mental space. Just know you're not alone and we all go through it. Good luck! 

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