[October 6, 2020 – Parker, CO]
Simulation in healthcare encompasses different modalities and cutting-edge technologies that provide customizable and hands-on learning experiences to students in a risk-free environment. At Rocky Vista University (RVU), the Office of Simulation in Medicine and Surgery (SIMS) has opened a Healthcare Simulation Center (HSC) at each campus location which offers simulation services in a centralized location and integrates simulation into the curriculum of all RVU program offerings.
During Healthcare Simulation Week – a national celebration of the professionals who use simulation to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of healthcare delivery – the Office of SIMS hosted a virtual grand opening of each of its HSCs, highlighting significant updates to the spaces and equipment. On the Colorado campus, renovations and new technology additions include: an ambulance ramp, a simulated trauma bay complete with two emergency rooms and operating rooms, a simulated prep room, and storage for equipment. Both campuses have also added designated virtual reality rooms, wall murals to enhance the realism of the simulated clinical spaces, and high-fidelity SimMom and Preemie Annie electronic manikins.
“We have two main goals,” says Susan Carter, MD, FACS, Director of the Office of SIMS. “[To ensure] patient-centered education [and] innovative and state-of-the-art methodology for providing an excellent education to all learners,” including community members, physicians, residents, and, of course, RVU’s students. In July, the Office of SIMS was integral in facilitating Fundamentals of Clinical Medicine, a course that prepares third-year students to meet with patients in a clinical setting, through hyper-realistic simulations and virtual reality.
“Simulation-based education is really important in today’s learners,” says Dr. Carter. “The [HSCs] provide multiple modalities for different types of learners.” For example, during Standardized Patient Encounters, students practice communication and clinical skills with trained actors who portray realistic scenarios and symptoms for students to diagnose, which further prepares students for third- and fourth-year clinical externships and rotations. Workshops with manikins or virtual reality simulations also introduce students to scenarios they might not otherwise encounter in their clinical externships and rotations. This type of experiential learning allows students to absorb more information during a simulated scenario and aids with the retention of that information for longer periods of time.
The Office of SIMS, and by extension the HSCs, is currently accredited by the American College of Surgeons as a Comprehensive Education Institute. RVU is the only osteopathic medical school and one of three medical institutions in the Mountain West to hold this accreditation.