What is Clinical Simulation?

The Simulation Center is a place to replicate a real-world environment that is safe for teaching and experimentation.

Simulation education bridges the gap between classroom learning and real-life clinical experiences. Written tests and oral exams are traditional methods of assessing knowledge and ability. Due to technological advances, this environment allows for accurate simulation. This gives students or healthcare professions an opportunity to learn from hands-on experience without putting actual patients at risk. Likewise, simulations afford instructors a clear picture of students ability levels and healthcare professionals a protected environment in which they can perfect their skills.

There are many advantages to simulated learning.  Some of them are a range of easily accessible learning opportunities and the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. The learning environment is also readily available and customizable. Moreover, it is a way to provide accurate feedback and evaluation of student abilities.

What Simulation Offers:

  • The classroom activities provide a means to practice scheduled, valuable learning experiences. Such experiences are difficult to obtain in real life.
  • Learners address hands-on and thinking skills, including knowledge-in-action, procedures, decision-making and effective communication.
  • Critical teamwork behaviors such as managing a high workload, trapping errors and coordinating under stress can be taught and practiced.
  • Training runs the gamut from preventive care to invasive surgery.
  • Since we can portray any clinical situation at will, we can schedule these learning opportunities at convenient times and locations. Students can also repeat them as often as necessary.
  • Working in a simulated environment allows learners to make mistakes without the need for intervention by experts to stop patient harm. By seeing the outcome of their mistakes, learners gain powerful insight into the consequences of their actions. This reinforces the importance of “getting it right.”

Benefits of Simulation:

  • Simulation also offers the ability to accommodate a range of learners, from novices to experts. Beginners can gain confidence and “muscle memory” for tasks. Experts can better master the continuously growing array of new technologies. These could include minimally invasive surgeries, catheter-based therapies as well as robotics.
  • Simulation also has the ability to produce complex procedures and rare diseases which simply do not present enough opportunities for practice. This is true for both novices and established clinicians. Examples of this include: treating a severe allergic reaction, heart attack in an outpatient clinic setting or handling a case of malignant hyperthermia in the operating room. This is a gap that simulation training methods can help fill.
  • Real events and the pace of actual healthcare operations do not allow for the best review and learning about why things took place or how to improve performance. Controlled simulations can be immediately followed by videotape-supported debriefings or after-action reviews that richly detail what happened.
  • Advanced surgical and task simulators gather much data about what the learner is actually doing. These performance maps and logs provide a solid and necessary feedback mechanism to learners. These logs help instructors target necessary improvements.

-What is Clinical Simulation?