"I can't breathe," rasps the patient in the hospital bed.
Fortunately, it's not an emergency.
The "patient" is being tested out, but soon he'll be switched off until the arrival of health and nursing students to the Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University in two weeks.
Contractors and technicians are putting the finishing touches on the revamped wing that formerly housed the trades courses at the Langley site.
Five years ago, trades moved to the new Cloverdale campus, and now a major renovation is allowing all the Community and Health Studies courses, faculty, and equipment to be housed under one roof.
Tru Freeman, the dean of the faculty, is excited about the possibilities.
"It's going to be great," she said. "We're going to get that interaction among faculty and students."
That will start happening in two weeks, after the last of the gear, from hospital beds to semi-lifelike robots, is unpacked.
The equipment includes dummies like the one complaining about trouble breathing.
Mark Hackenbruch, a simulation technician, fired up the dummy this week to test it out as the finishing touches are put on simulated hospital rooms.
The dummy blinks, breathes, speaks mumbled phrases offering a number of complaints about its health, and even has a pulse throbbing in its arm.
"They can bleed, they can urinate," said Hechenbruch.
Student nurses and other health workers will try out their new skills on the artificial patients before heading into a real hospital.
There are also several other dummies in descending levels of realism, suitable for students to learn a variety of aid techniques, and to practise moving in and out of beds. In another area of the ground floor of the health wing, a tub will be set up to allow home care trainees to learn how to help a patient in and out of the bath.
Watching the students will be teachers, who will be able to turn on a microphone from behind a twoway mirror and speak as the patient, adding an extra dimension to the training. A nearby briefing room will allow other students to watch.
Eventually, the facility will have a live streaming capability that will allow even students off campus to watch a lesson on their computers.
The robotic patients, like the entire building, are wireless, noted Marc Guay, the business manager for the health faculty.
The wing will be the first at Kwantlen with universal wi-fi, which will allow students to get internet access anywhere, including in some public areas set aside for students to meet, study, do homework, and talk to one another.
The open area near the front of the wing could be inviting for students not from the community and health faculty, said Freeman.
"We hope other students will come here," she said.
Offices upstairs hold staff and faculty, and there are traditional classrooms as well as mock hospital rooms.
While the last-minute work is being done to get the offices and classrooms ready for students, a few more changes are planned for the near future.
The loading docks behind the wing may eventually be revamped into an outdoor public space.
In addition, the university is fundraising to find more cash for even more realistic dummies for students, increasing its complement of fake patients.
The new faculty will bring seven healthrelated courses to Langley, adding to the three that were already here. In addition, foreign-trained nurses will be assessed at the Langley campus as they work to become fully accredited to practise in B.C.