Effective education in health care simulation relies on a realistic environment, hands-on learning and detailed feedback. The application of knowledge and skills in instructor-designed scenarios enhances critical thinking and increases patient safety in clinical practice.
Labs re-create clinical settings identical to most patient care environments. Lab situations are immersive learning experiences that build skills, teamwork and communication.
There are three modalities of simulation practiced in the Clinical Simulation Centre (CSC) that students are exposed to:
1. Mannequin or Model Based Simulation
Students work with human patient simulators that talk, breathe and display vital signs, or parts of human patient simulators (such as a model of an arm or leg). The highly realistic human patient simulators facilitate a wide variety of instructional scenarios that focus on specific skills or a capstone of skills, communication and teamwork.
Students, their peers, instructors and the mannequin software interact constantly during learning events. Students receive feedback from instructors and peers, review their own work using video recordings from the lab and collaborate with peers to share knowledge and experiences.
2) Standardized Patient Simulation
Standardized patient simulation involves a student and a specifically trained role-player interacting in a clinical context. Standardized patients are often actors or students who portray patients or family members in learning scenarios, creating a realistic simulation of situational dynamics.
Practicing situations such as a challenging discussion with a family or patient in a simulated environment prepares students for the human dynamics of their professions. Practicing physical situations such as health assessments, or lifts and transfers, is vital before entering a professional situation.
3) Virtual Simulation
Virtual simulation utilizes computer programs designed to replicate procedures. When combined with motion sensor devices, virtual simulation provides a realistic motor coordination component. Students learn procedures such as intravenous (IV) insertion by self-directed practice. Learning is guided by computer feedback that builds student experience before they apply their skills in real situations.
Learning in Simulation
Effective learning in simulation requires immersion in the activity. Students participate as if they are in the workplace, including appropriate dress attire. Students who can effectively suspend disbelief learn to apply classroom knowledge in a realistic context.
Learning in simulation builds confidence in working with real patients and providing safe practice. Simulation plays an important role in learning and safe patient care throughout the student and professional lives of health care professionals.
Simulation and the application of theoretical knowledge to real clinical or work settings is now an essential part of quality education. Students experience controlled, planned learning events in a simulated professional work environment. They develop knowledge, personal skills, and teamwork and communication skills.
Scenarios practiced in the Clinical Simulation Centre (CSC) include crisis intervention, post-operative care, shift change and difficult conversations. The repository of scenarios continues to grow as faculty instructors develop simulations that enhance learning and practice, or resolve difficult learning concepts. Simulation prepares students to practice safer care. Students will continue to learn with simulation throughout their professional lives.
The CSC is a supportive environment for faculty who teach with simulation, offering a faculty development within simulation. The CSC encourages faculty to develop expertise in simulation pedagogy by participating in dry run events, short workshops and full courses with hands-on practice. If faculty is unable to attend scheduled workshops/courses, training is also provided by appointment.
CSC EASEE Series:
The Educators Advancing Simulation Education Excellence (EASEE) Series is a step-by-step approach to simulation educational design and delivery. This is a blended delivery model including online, face-to-face and hands-on series of short classes. The EASEE series is comprised of three levels: novice, practice advancement and curriculum integration. National League for Nursing (NLN) online courses for simulation educators is made available to faculty in this series.
Sim Etc is an interdisciplinary, three-day professional educational course developed by an interprofessional group of educators from the Alberta Health Services, MacEwan University, NAIT, NorQuest and the University of Alberta.