In-Situ Simulation

We take the simulation experience out of the lab and into the community.

Alta Bates

With in-situ simulation, the SMU HSSC brings simulation to hospitals in the community.

For working health professionals, the most valuable simulations may take place in the actual work environment where they use their skills every day. Especially in a high-risk setting such as an Emergency Department, an in-situ simulation provides a level of relevance and realism not possible even in Samuel Merritt University’s (SMU) comprehensive Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC).  

You are invited to contact SMU’s HSSC for information about how to bring in-situ simulations to your clinical facility. Contact us to learn more.

Benefits of In-Situ Simulation ↑ 

In addition to the benefits from any simulation experience, these are the advantages unique to in-situ:

  • Identify latent hazards and deficiencies in your environment or work systems.
  • Deliberately “stress the system” to identify areas with the highest risk and greatest need for change.
  • Reinforce best practices unique to your environment and team.
  • Identify resource issues—e.g., personnel, medication, equipment—that might not be apparent in a laboratory setting.
  • Introduce intentional malfunctions that might occur in your actual equipment.
  • Involve the entire team, including support personnel, not just those who can be spared for an off-site training.
  • Test the safety of a newly designed facility (such as an ED) prior to opening, so improvements can be made before real patients arrive.
  • Stimulate interest before investing in a “bricks-and-mortar” simulation lab.
  • Reduce the cost of simulation, in time and money, by eliminating the need for complex scheduling, overtime pay or a second team to step in while others go off site for training.

Facilitator’s Role ↑ 

At least one experienced simulation facilitator from SMU will oversee every in-situ simulation sponsored by our HSSC. These experts play an essential role in planning and implementation. In addition to orchestrating events during the scenario, they will take note of participants’ communications and body language for discussion after the performance.

Four Components of In-Situ Simulation ↑ 

Every in-situ simulation facilitated by SMU’s HSSC staff follows the same standard format for maximum effectiveness:

  1. Briefing
  2. Simulation
  3. Debriefing
  4. Follow-Up

Time pressures on the working participants may allow only for a short debriefing; however, the SMU staff provides standardized debriefing formats to ensure that essential components are always covered.


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