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About the Health Sciences Simulation Center


Patient safety and positive patient outcomes are at the heart of everything we do.

At Samuel Merritt University (SMU) we know what it takes to produce healthcare professionals who can be trusted with your life. It takes practice, carefully guided, and lots of it. Providing that practice—in technical skills, medical and surgical procedures, critical thinking, decision making, teamwork, leadership and communication—is what SMU’s Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC) is all about.

Here in our spacious facility, SMU students and faculty, and working professionals from our community partners, practice all types of simulation, using state-of-the-art medical equipment and simulation equipment, plus the services of skilled actors known as standardized patients. Advanced audio visual equipment records every word and move for debriefing.

All SMU programs use simulation in their curricula. We believe wholeheartedly in the educational effectivenessof this exciting new tool, and we must be doing something right, because in our first few years we have already received numerous honors for our work.


Our Areas of Special Interest ↑ 

  • We develop structured courses on crisis resource management for targeted groups of community health professionals and all SMU students.
  • We emphasize human factors and patient safety in strengthening our core curriculum.
  • We emphasize inter-professional scenarios that reflect real clinical situations, often using real cases as our models.
  • We support SMU’s faculty members as they integrate simulation into SMU’s curriculum in all disciplines.
  • We provide regional leadership and participate in regional training. HSSC faculty/staff serve as instructors/mentors in all levels of the Bay Area Simulation collaborative Faculty Development "Train the Trainer" Program.
  • We support the goal of simulation-based learning methodologies as SMU’s primary paradigm for demonstrating educational effectiveness.

What Simulation Makes Possible ↑ 

  • The model for an environment focused on patient safety
  • Hands-on experience much earlier in the curriculum
  • A more direct connection between theory and practice
  • Second-nature mastery of technical skills, so the mind is free to focus on the human side of healthcare upon first contact with real patients
  • Freedom to make mistakes and learn from them
  • Immediate feedback to reinforce and deepen learning
  • A "mirror" held up to small missteps that might otherwise go uncorrected
  • Student access to recorded performances, for repeated review
  • Less of the pressure and anxiety usually associated with a first clinical experience
  • More dynamic interactions among students and faculty
  • More accurate and thorough evaluations of student performance
  • Superior data collection, for use in studying how people learn and how medical/surgical events unfold.
  • Less demand for clinical practice sites, which are in short supply
  • One more great reason for top applicants to seek a Samuel Merritt University education
  • Graduates who feel truly confident when they meet their first patient