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SMU Simulation Center Hosts International Visitors

by Justin Berton, Associate Director of Media Relations and News

For years, the state of the art simulation center at Samuel Merritt University has served as a prominent training ground for thousands of student health care professionals who will one day care for real patients in hospitals.

On Jan. 26, a replica operating room and clinic, also known as the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC), where many types of realistic clinical environments are simulated, will play host to an international audience. A team of 8 nurses, nurse anesthetists and physicians from various simulation centers in the U.S. will be will be collaborating with the HSSC team to conduct an interactive continuing education workshop. 

40 health care providers from all over the world and from a wide range of disciplines will attend this workshop, “Utilizing Simulation to Teach Effective Communication Techniques to Multidisciplinary Teams of Providers in the Operating Room.”  The workshop attendees, who are visiting San Francisco to attend the annual Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) conference, will travel to the Oakland campus for the two-hour course that showcases the University’s HSSC.

Assistant professor Celeste Villanueva, CRNA, the center’s director, said the focus of the teaching will center around a simulated, realistic operating-room scenario where the surgical team (course faculty) operating on a patient (a computerized mannequin) will deliberately demonstrate poor team skills and behavior.  After the dramatic rendering, which is viewed live by the workshop audience and recorded by cameras, the faculty will review the episode using a guided debriefing technique and then break the larger audience into small groups to discuss how simulation can be applied to foster better communication techniques among practicing professionals.

“The debriefing is where all the learning happens,” Villanueva said. “This is a scenario they can use and bring back to their site to continue learning.”

More than 3,000 people will attend the four-day SSH conference, which focuses on the growing use of simulation centers in healthcare universities around the globe. A report from the society last year showed simulation is widely considered by healthcare professionals as an efficient way to train students, improve patient safety, and reduce healthcare costs.

Aside from the visit to Samuel Merritt University, attendees will also tour centers at University California San Francisco, University of San Francisco School of Nursing and Health Professions, and Stanford School of Medicine.