Nurses training to work in New Jersey hospital operating rooms are going through a special program where they are required to interact with a bunch of dummies.

More specifically, patient manikins that simulate human functions like breathing, coughing and heart rate.

According to Mary Beth Russell, vice president at the Center for Professional Development Innovation and Research Northern Region for RWJ Barnabas Health, they’re being trained in a special simulated operating room at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.

“It gives all healthcare providers a chance to really overcome and tackle insecurities, while experiencing different patient scenarios in an environment that really is free from any untoward events or consequences," she said.

“It gives them the opportunity to practice skills redundantly, so it provides them, when they’re actually at the bedside, the opportunity to perform the task more accurately and smoothly.”

Russell pointed out the simulated operating room is similar to a real one.

Beside the manikins, “we also have the equipment you would find in the OR, such as the actual surgical procedure equipment and general supplies and equipment that you would find so that the nurses can practice different things that they would be requested to do in an OR.”

About 60 nurses and dozens of operating room technicians from 11 Robert Wood Johnson hospitals will be trained in simulated OR this year.

Courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health
Courtesy Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health

She said once the nurses have experience in the simulated operating room “they go back into a training room or conference room and they actually debrief, so they can have a discussion on what went well and what they can improve upon for next time.”


“The more opportunities they get to practice the more competent they are and the safer practitioners they are, which really leads to increased patient safety.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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