Simulation Training for Sutter Health Doctors

Samuel Merritt University

March 4, 2011

Simulation Training for Sutter Health Doctors:

SMU Faculty Use Simulation to Help Physicians Identify and Treat Early Signs of Sepsis

(OAKLAND, Calif., March 4, 2011) Several doctors from Sutter Health hospitals in Sacramento, Bay Area, and Southern California will be using simulation training at Samuel Merritt University (SMU) to raise the level of education and experience in early identification of sepsis.

WHY:  Each year, sepsis strikes an estimated 750,000 people in the United States.  It is the leading cause of death for non-cardiac, critically ill patients in the U.S.  Sepsis is the one diagnosis-specific initiative that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement recommends all hospitals tackle.

Samuel Merritt University (SMU) and Sutter Health, parent company of the University, are working together to tackle this nationwide problem by providing additional training in early recognition of signs and symptoms of sepsis. The goal is aimed at reducing the rate of reported sepsis-associated mortality.

"Experts believe that as much as 100,00 patients per year die in hospitals because of medical errors and mistakes," explains William Stiers, MD, HSSC Simulation Specialist.  "Medical science is getting more complex every day and with so many issues and technologies related to the medical science we can only expect medical errors to go up.  Samuel Merritt University is where simulation enters as a new method to train students, physicians, and healthcare professionals."

WHAT: Doctors, with the aid of SMU faculty with simulation expertise, will be practicing hands-on ultra sound guided central- line placement, aseptic technique of central-line placement, and recognition and management of sepsis.  Through the re-enforcement training, the doctors will earn continued medical education (CME) hours.

"Due to the power of immersive learning, the American Board of Medical Specialties is mandating the inclusion of simulation exercises for maintenance of certification," said Dr. Stiers.  "Samuel Merritt University is able to give Sutter Health doctors a real life scenario that they use every day in recognizing early stages of sepsis development, and the mannequins provide a safe learning environment."

"We use simulation when we teach our nursing, podiatry, physician assistant, occupational and physical therapy students," said Lina Gage-Kelly , MSN, ANP Assistant Professor School of Nursing.  "It’s being used in several schools across the country and it can be very helpful to train and educate hospital personnel, nurses, physicians, assistants, and specialized healthcare providers."

HOW:  The Health Science Simulation Center uses human-like mannequins, managed by highly sophisticated computer software to enable healthcare providers to learn, practice and repeat procedures as often as necessary in order to correct mistakes, fine-tune their skills and develop patient practice that have been proven to optimize clinical outcomes.  The HSSC combines real life cases and studies with innovative and interactive procedures, all included in one single training program.

"While hands-on, experiential learning is indispensable, healthcare professionals are increasingly concerned about, and committed to, the safety of patients," explains Celeste Villanueva, Director, Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC) at Samuel Merritt University. "With simulation learning, healthcare providers have the opportunity to develop and refine their skills using simulation technology - without putting patients at risk."

WHEN: Saturday, March 5, from 2:00pm to 3:00pm

WHERE: Samuel Merritt University located at 450 30th Street in Oakland (Health Science Simulation Center (HSSC) - Ground Floor)

CONTACT: Interviews and photo/filming opportunities with simulation available. 

   Contact Elizabeth Valente, Director of Media Relations at 510.725.7980 and

Samuel Merritt University, located in Oakland, California, has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909.  Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo.  The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and podiatric medicine.  For more information visit

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