The Importance of Manikin Maintenance Support

11/07/2016

Blog post by SimGHOSTS MEA Officer Valen Anderson

The Importance of Manikin Maintenance Support

Last week, an engineer from CAE Healthcare came to our Simulation Center here in Doha to perform maintenance checks on our four PediaSim manikins. I have to say, it was a refreshing experience.

Let me give you some background:

Legally here in Qatar, we are required to work through third-party licensed vendors versus going straight to the organization or source. We work with companies like Al-Jazeera Medical (no, not the news!), Enzo, and others to order and procure our simulation equipment. These vendors sell your Sim Center standards like Laerdal, CAE, and Gaumard. It is because of this system that we pay almost double the price for our manikins. We are also stuck with working with third-party employees, who, when visiting our Simulation Center for maintenance and repair end up just reading the manual or users guide. They do not work for a simulation company and have little to no experience with the equipment. They do not come with checklists, or spare parts. They simply show up and usually end up making more work for us after! *This is not the case every time, but it is the case most of the time.

Unfortunately, there is no way around this process. However, we were lucky to receive a true CAE engineer from Germany last week, who reminded me how the system should work. The engineer’s name was Berk and he has been working for CAE for a few years now. He came with spare parts (even the more complex pieces) and with very thorough checklists. He came with his lists, and he checked them twice. Sometimes, even three times! I would literally have to tell him “time’s up!” (or “Yalla!” – “Let’s Go” in Arabic) at the end of the day when we all left, otherwise he would have stayed past dark. He was here for four days and worked on one PediaSim per day. He barely took ten minutes for lunch too –this guy worked hard! Luckily I wasn’t too busy last week so I had the privilege of helping him check and repair the equipment, as well as learn some fundamental things I didn’t know about PediaSim and some unique tricks-of-the-trade.

I think I can speak for a lot of Sim Techs when I say that sometimes, the everyday grind can be tiresome and dull; it can wear you out. Especially when you haven’t been to a conference lately, or a workshop or anything to refuel your innovative/creative tank… And I know I must sound especially desperate since my dose of energy and excitement was a preventative maintenance check and repair! After Berk’s visit here my fellow techs and I decided to devote more time and efforts into preventative maintenance on our manikins – to both the ones being used and the ones with more shelf life. We are setting aside “quarantined” time (as my manager calls it) to go through our in-depth checklist once a month for each manikin. For the more complex manikins (ie. SimMan3G) we are estimating it will take an entire day to go through a full check and for the less complex (ie. SimBaby) we are setting aside a half day. Having support from management to set aside time for these checks is fundamental as well, and makes it easier to justify the breadth of our job!