Monday, 19 November 2012

Mannequin, manikin, manakin…

One of the comments from an ultimately rejected article submitted to Simulation in Healthcare (SiH) referred to our use of the word “manikin”. SiH’s guidance for authors, we were told, was to use “mannequin” to refer to patient simulators.

The manneken pis in Brussels
“Manikin” derives from the Dutch “manneken”, a diminutive of “man”, so a manikin is a little man. A term which certainly does not sit well with the CAE Healthcare METI HPS.

Mannequin derives from the French word of the same spelling, which itself is derived from the Dutch "manneken". So manneken led to two different words, manikin and mannequin.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) tells us that a manikin is:
1) a) A small representation or statue of a human figure, b) jointed wooden figure of the human body or c) model of the human body designed for demonstrating anatomical structure
2) A little man, dwarf or pygmy

According to the OED, a mannequin is:
1) A person employed by a dressmaker, costumier, etc., to model clothes
2)  A model of (part of) a human figure, used for the display of clothes, etc.

The OED, it would seem, would suggest that what we use in simulation are manikins, however David Gaba disagrees.

Simulation in Healthcare
In an article written in 2006, Gaba who is the Editor-in-Chief of SiH, explained his position. I use the term “his” as opposed to “their” or “its” on purpose. Gaba discusses the origin of the two words and then proceeds to use Google searches to prove that “when discussing simulation in healthcare, for whatever reason, mannequin has become the more common term”. Finally, Gaba freely admits that he is biased towards using the term “mannequin”. However is this preponderance of mannequin still true today?

Current usage
Repeating Gaba’s Google searches (see bottom of post) tells us three things:
1) “Mannequin” still outperforms “manikin” when simulation is included within the search, although the difference remains small.
2) In a massive reversal, “mannequin” now greatly outperforms “manikin” when searching for resuscitation
3) There are now many more hits for both terms. This increase in number is proportional with the increase in the number of websites between 2006 (100 million) and 2012 (644 million)

In terms of manufacturers, Laerdal uses manikin for its lower fidelity models and, along with CAE Healthcare, the term patient simulators for the higher fidelity ones. Gaumard refers to HAL as as manikin.

What term to use?
A manakin
In the end, although for aesthetic reasons I prefer mannequin, I think it is irrelevant which term we use as long as the usage is consistent within the article... and we avoid "manakin", as this is a type of bird.

Term in Google in 2012 (2006)
Manikin + resuscitation: 219,000 (34,000)
Manikin + CPR: 587,000 (74,000)
Mannequin + resuscitation: 3,550,000 (23,000)
Mannequin + CPR: 444,000 (49,000)

Manikin + simulation: 510,000 (40,000)
Mannequin + simulation: 520,000 (88,000)
Manikin + medical simulation: 136,000 (21,000)
Mannequin + medical simulation: 169,000 (33,000)

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