The days of medical and nursing school students practicing on real patients might be numbered. Today, many doctors and nurses in training are making their first diagnoses--and their first mistakes--on plastic, wires, and computer circuits rather than flesh and blood.


These virtual patients come in different shapes and sizes, much like the real ones.


Some are almost lifelike mannequins with plastic ears and hair, veins that can be injected, eyes that can move, and interchangeable genitals. They can't be hurt or killed, even though they have a pulse, a beating heart, and...

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