Penn State College of Medicine students work with a simulation arm to learn how to draw blood in a session in the Clinical Simulation Center in July 2016. The simulation arm is pictured in the center of the photo with tubes of red-dyed liquid leading to it. The hands of four students are seen around the simulation arm.

Clinical Simulation Center

Enhancing Practitioner Skills Through Simulation

The mission of the Penn State College of Medicine Clinical Simulation Center is to improve patient outcomes with effective programs that promote and enhance practitioner skills, clinical competence, teamwork, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

To advance the field of healthcare simulation, the Center conducts innovative research into simulation theory, practice, and technology.

Students in the Physician Assistant program practice using a surgical simulator in the Penn State College of Medicine Simulation Center in July 2016. The female and male students are seen looking into a white box, with their hands operating controls whose responses are simulated on the on-screen display.

The Penn State University Clinical Simulation Center moved into its current 9,500-square-foot space in 2010.

The facility comprises small encounter rooms, larger bays, a virtual reality room, skills training spaces and several debriefing rooms. Other facilities include a lecture hall, computer lab and conference space.

Accreditations

Society for Simulation in Healthcare

Penn State's Clinical Simulation Center in Hershey was one of the first institutions to be accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. The Sim Center is approved in the areas of Assessment, Teaching/Education, and System Integration. Accreditation in the final area, Research, is being pursued. Only a few institutions in the world are certified in all four areas.

American College of Surgeons

The center is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons as a Level 1 Comprehensive Education Institute. This 3-year accreditation is the highest level possible, and has been held by the Center since 2007.

American Society of Anesthesiologists

The Center is also accredited by the American Society of Anesthesiologists as an Endorsed Simulation Program. This certification, granted since 2009, recognizes the high quality of anesthesia simulation programs and the dedication of resources needed to maintain and expand the programs. The Simulation Center is also authorized by this accreditation to offer continuing medical education credits to ASA members.

Using Simulations to Apply a Combination of Skills

In this video, Elizabeth Sinz, MD, Associate Dean for Clinical Simulation for Penn State College of Medicine, describes how the high-fidelity learning experiences of simulations are essential to educating medical professionals. See more video interviews with Sinz about simulation.

Outreach

Community Art Displays

Visits to the Simulation Center are enhanced by artwork from local artist groups. Paintings, drawings and collages are displayed in the lobby and patient rooms. This provides a welcoming feel to the Center and provides local artists with a venue for their work to be viewed by hundreds of Center trainees. The artwork can also be purchased at the discretion of the artist.

Artwork has been provided by Derry Township High School students, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine faculty and staff, and local professional artists. The display pieces are selected by a committee and are displayed in the Center for three months. An evening reception is frequently held at the beginning of a display period to allow family, friends and the general public to view the artwork and meet the artists.

High School Programs

The Simulation Center supports curricula in several local secondary schools. Advanced science students and other specialty groups interested in a healthcare field have sessions incorporating relevant medical or physiological content.

Students experience actual medical situations, which incorporate concepts such as understanding the basis for pathophysiologies, creating differential diagnoses and delivering treatments. Practical skills such as CPR can be introduced.

They are also exposed to real medical equipment, procedures, and medical terminology to give a feel for what a career in healthcare might be like.