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The real benefits of our Simulation Center

In these first few weeks of Spring, it seems timely to be starting the Interprofessional Immersive Center (IISC) blog. We are full of enthusiasm about how this simulation center on the Health Science Campus is growing. This week, for example, 175 first year medical students are being assessed for their skills in taking blood pressures. This seems a simple enough procedure!

However, instead of practicing on real patients (can you imagine how painful it is to have your blood pressure taken every few minutes by a lot of students?) they have been learning on our human patient simulators.

In addition to offering a safe place to learn without fear of hurting patients, these students will also get feedback about the accuracy of their skills as they relate to assessing blood pressure. This kind of precision is not possible when learning on real patients. We are able to program the human patient simulators to have any heart or respiration rate or blood pressure level – or indeed, to mimic almost any clinical situation.

A major goal of the IISC is to provide a venue to advance interprofessional education and collaboration. This means that we are already sharing space, models, expertise and ideas. We are also beginning to conduct health care team exercises so that nurses, pharmacists, doctors, respiratory therapists and other care givers can learn to work together in a simulated setting prior to conducting patient care.

In case you wonder why this center is called an “immersive” simulation center, it is because we are venturing boldly into bringing virtual reality and virtual environments into the learning experience. We live in exciting times when the fields of simulation, gaming and modeling are converging.

Most health care professionals live in the fear of inadvertently harming someone.  Being able to offer a full range of simulation experiences in spaces that can mimic any health care environment ‐ virtually ‐ where they can practice patient care skills will greatly help this concern.

9 Responses to “The real benefits of our Simulation Center”

  1. Susan Arbaugh Says:

    Thank you, Dr. Boyers, for sharing information about the wonderful Simulation Center at UTMC. We are fortunate to have such state of-the-art training, as well as an exceptional teaching staff, right here on our campus. Health care professionals can perfect their
    skills on the human patient simulators, without harming real patients! How cool is that? The Simulation Center helps set the University apart from the majoriity of healh care sytems nationwide that don’t offer this type of training. Present and future health care professionals will greatly benefit from what you and others have created at UTMC.

  2. JPGold Says:

    Great Blog!
    The ongoing growth of the center is remarkable. We cut the ribbon barely a year ago and we now have almost 1000 learners gaining technical experience, building teams, and honing their skills every month. Nursing students, medical students and many others, working side by side!
    We very much look forward to the completion of the Phase II renovation, making the environment even more inviting.

    Yet one mote way that the University of Toledo is setting the standards nationally for health professions education and clinical care.

    Thank you…keep the blogosphere alive!

  3. Felicia Guerrero Says:

    Thank you for the information, Dr. Boyer. I had the opportunity to see the simulation lab for the first time last week, and I was beyond impressed. Our students are so privileged to have exposure to such advanced technology. Ben and Brian were excellent in providing not just a tour of the lab but detailed information and lots of answers to questions. Your lab is amazing!

  4. Pamela Boyers Says:

    We are glad you saw the IISC. It is still evolving and our students are helping lead the way as they develop new ways of learning – they are especially active helping us develop the 3-D CAD Wall and have created some especially innovative ways for learning anatomy.

  5. Tonya Floyd-Bradstock Says:

    I am very excited for all of the opportunities that IISC will provide for UT and Toledo and it’s surrounding communities!

  6. Michelle Says:

    Medical students aren’t the only ones that use SIM labs!! Nursing students also get to experience simulation experiences as well. They are a great way to learn hands on and make me feel a lot more comfortable in challenging situations.

  7. Pamela Boyers Says:

    You are right – the nursing simulation program is excellent. we hope to blog soon about the nursing and the interprofessional team activities that are occurring in the Simulation Center. These involve pharmacy, the physician’s assistant program and other disciplines.

  8. Joanne Schwartzberg Says:

    Being a standardized patient for the Ruth M. Hillebrand Clinical Skills Center (CSC), I too have been impressed with the added opportunities offered in the IISC for the students at UTMC. I was one of the standardized patient participants who helped to provide the human component for the students while they were learning to take a blood pressure in the IISC lab and during testing in the CSC. As a past educator in the College of Nursing, it was nice to see this new hybrid simulation (the use of SPs with non-human simulators) being utilized to provide one of the most comprehensive learning models.While the simulators provided precision and accuracy, the humans provided the students with the opportunity to be given feedback on details pertaining to patient comfort (i.e. was the cuff too tight, proper positioning, etc.) Rapid changes are occurring in health care education. The one element that will never change is the importance of proper communication with the patient. Both programs provide a complimentary and synergistic approach to the best education. I am proud to be a part of UT’s evolving use of hybrid simulation in educating the health care practitioners of tomorrow. Joanne Schwartzberg, Associate Professor Emerita, College of Nursing.

  9. Pamela Boyers Says:

    First, thank you very much for your comments and for being one of the standardized patients who work collaboratively between the IISC and the Ruth M. Hillebrand Clinical Skills Center. Without you and your colleagues we would indeed not have the human element that is so critical as we prepare out students to become compassionate, communicative and caring healthcare professionals. We also – absolutely agree with your philosophy – that this hybrid approach offers a great educational model. Nothing surpasses real human interaction!

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About the IISC

The University of Toledo is creating a new paradigm that will transform how health care professionals are educated.

The Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center (IISC) will drive innovation in learning, clinical practice and research through the creation of a learning environment that incorporates advanced simulation models and virtual immersive technology.

Rapid changes occurring in national and global health care demand that the education of health care professionals must undergo transformation to ensure patients continue to receive the safest and highest quality treatment. The IISC will position The University of Toledo as a world leader in educating the health care practitioners of tomorrow.



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