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State health care association donates human simulator to UNC Pembroke’s Nursing Department

September 30, 2016

Faced with limited access to clinical sites, the School of Nursing faculty at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke rely on high-tech manikins to simulate real-life patient scenarios. 

The Department of Nursing has seven computer-generated human simulators, which are being utilized by approximately 200 nursing students. 

Thanks to a generous donation by the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association, the nursing school acquired its newest human METIman simulator. 

Standing 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing well over 200 pounds, the full-body wireless instrumented manikin goes by the name Za Gracious – an anagram for Craig Souza, association president and member of the UNC Board of Governors. 

“Our association was very pleased to donate the digital human simulator to UNC Pembroke’s School of Nursing,” Souza said. “UNCP’s nursing program is among the finest in the state and its graduates are not only among the best qualified, but many tend to practice very close to their home communities.  

“There is going to continue to be great demand for well-trained nurses, especially in underserved areas, and we believe UNCP is well positioned to meet the need,” Souza continued. 

“UNCP has continued to grow its nursing program and has continued to attract quality students and stay focused on its mission,” Souza said. 

Chancellor Robin Gary Cummings said he is grateful for the N.C. Health Facilities Association’s generous investment in UNC Pembroke and its students. 

“The association’s members clearly understand our university’s important role in producing the next generation of health professionals that will serve our state, particularly in rural, underserved communities,” Cummings said. 

 “As UNCP continues to focus on growth and building partnerships across the state, we hope support such as this will encourage others to follow suit,” the chancellor continued. 

The Raleigh-based group also donated a heavy-duty wheeled stretcher and additional equipment. Students began practicing with Za Gracious this semester. 

Simulation is incorporated in all clinical courses offered in the Department of Nursing. The second floor lab in the Health Sciences Building is home to a dozen manikins in the shape of adults, children and babies. Seven simulators are equipped with high fidelity technology. 

The simulator provides faculty the opportunity to simulate client experiences, giving students hands-on education with realistic, in-time feedback. 

“Students usually work in simulation as a team, which enhances students’ communication, teamwork and clinical reasoning skills,” said Dr. Jennifer Twaddell, interim chair of the Nursing Department. “With limited clinical site resources in this area, simulation provides students with experiences that prepare them to care for clients in various settings safely and effectively.” 

An additional simulator will allow the faculty to stage multiple simulations at one time. 

The METIman can simulate heart attacks, collapsed lungs, and a stroke, according to Melonie Moody, the university’s Clinical Learning Center director. Other features include blinking eyes, breathing, vital signs and convulsions. A variety of aliments can be programmed through a computer system. 

The METIman has an active pulse and can be injected with fluids. It interacts with the students through pre-recorded messages. It also comes equipped with a microphone that the professor can use to act as the patient’s voice. 

Dr. Jeff Frederick, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the state-of-the-art simulator allows the university to continue its tradition of producing world-class nurses equipped for the challenges of the 21st century healthcare environment. 

“Passionate professors, cutting edge resources, generous partners, and enthusiastic students make for a great program,” Frederick said. 

Twaddell agreed, saying, “Generous gifts from supporters like Mr. Souza provide resources needed to continue our mission to become the top nursing program in the state.”

UNC Pembroke is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system. For more information, contact Jodi Phelps, executive director of University Communications and Marketing, via email ( or by phone (910.521.6863). Connect with UNC Pembroke on social media or online at to learn how the university is changing lives through education.