Lienhard School of Nursing “Admits” Harvey, A Lifelike Cardiovascular Simulator

Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing now has a permanent patient on staff. The school is the recipient of “Harvey,” a cardiopulmonary patient simulator, thanks to an $87,500 grant from the Hugoton Foundation.



Cara Cea, (914) 906-9680,


NEW YORK, NY, May 14, 2010 – Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing now has a permanent patient on staff. The school is the recipient of “Harvey,” a cardiopulmonary patient simulator, thanks to an $87,500 grant from the Hugoton Foundation.

He’s not human, but Harvey is no dummy. He simulates 30 cardiac diseases with realistic heart and lung sounds at the touch of a button. He can be programmed to have various conditions that students diagnose and treat, such as hypertension, angina, myocardial infarct (“heart attack”), mitral valve prolapse, or a ventricular septal defect (“a hole in the heart”).

Harvey allows Pace University nursing students to practice their bedside diagnostic skills as often as they wish on him – and build confidence along the way. Increasingly nursing schools are turning to patient simulators to train students so they can practice on mannequins without fear of making fatal mistakes. The American College of Cardiology Task Force on Teaching recommends Harvey for training.

Although Harvey turned 42 this year, he is better than ever. The first Harvey simulators were heavy, weighing over 700 pounds. With his countless health issues he has helped train thousands of health care professionals at over 140 medical centers worldwide. With the trend toward shorter hospital stays, nursing students benefit from the continual presence of a patient who tolerates constant treatment and prodding.

The new slim, trim Harvey, weighing just 90 pounds, has undergone quite a few changes since he came on the scene in 1968. Harvey used to have a system of cams and levers that drove pistons to simulate his heartbeat and pulse. Today digital technology regulates Harvey’s heartbeat and pulse. With the addition of abnormal breath sounds, Harvey can now simulate a variety of pulmonary diseases. The newer Harvey also simulates additional cardiac disease states, has the ability to speak, and an interactive link to a multimedia computer curriculum in cardiology. The creators believe that Harvey will do for lung disease simulation what he already did for cardiac disease training.

According to dean and professor Harriet R. Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, “Harvey’s computer controlled simulation allows our advanced practice and entry-level nursing students to learn, practice and repeat procedures before performing them on real patients. Our students will get evidence-based learning experiences that are deeply meaningful while at the same time realistic and safe.”

Feldman noted that technology has transformed nursing education at Lienhard over the years and that Harvey will be in good company with a growing Lienhard family of several other patient simulators at Pace, along with equipment commonly found in a critical care unit or Emergency Room (ER): patient monitor, respirator, 12 lead EKG machine, multi-line IV pumps and a crash cart complete with defibrillator. Pace’s “Vital Sim” simulators have heart and lung sounds, blood pressure, arterial oxygenation levels, and even cough and groan like a real patient. This makes for a highly realistic “patient encounter” in the safe environment of the Learning Resource Center. “We are hoping to continue expansion of simulation learning as the field, and our student population, have grown,” Feldman said.

Professor Joanne Singleton, PhD, will work with aspiring family nurse practitioners to help them hone their skills on Harvey. She said, “Harvey is truly a lifesaver; he will help the nurses of tomorrow learn or improve skills and effective teamwork behaviors that will prevent health care errors that compromise patient safety. Mistakes can be made safely on Harvey that will help students learn without any negative outcomes on real people. Students who work with Harvey can learn at their own pace and be less likely to make health care errors when it counts – in a real-life situation.”

Assistant Professor Lucille Ferrara, EdD, will use Harvey for a pilot study in fall 2010 with nurse practitioner students to compare teaching methods. The study will examine high-fidelity simulation-based assessment, delivered via Harvey, versus more traditional teaching tools such as case studies. Both student and teacher perspectives will be explored. The results of this study will be critical as faculty in the family nurse practitioner program plan to transition from teaching with case studies to teaching in a more hands-on way with high fidelity (Harvey) simulation-based clinical skills assessment.

About Pace University: For 104 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Visit Pace on the web: | Facebook | Twitter @PaceUNews | Flickr | YouTube Follow Pace students on Twitter: NYC | PLV


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *