The Center for Research in Human Simulation
Features and Equipment

The Center for Research in Human Simulation, located on the 2nd floor of West Hospital on the MCV campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, provides state-of-the-art teaching and learning experiences and supports interprofessional training and research activities through the use of state-of-the-art simulation and distance education technology. The facility occupies over 1500 square feet of space in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia within the School of Allied Health Professions.

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High definition audiovisual equipment enables faculty to record training activities and provide detailed and subsequent debriefings designed to solidify learning. The Center houses a classroom adjacent to its high-fidelity operating room suites as well as an on-site conference room with closed circuit television and a projection screen that offers real-time viewing of activities in the lab.  This arrangement maximizes the impact of the Center by allowing for observing participants.

Another feature of the Center is the inclusion of five full-body human patient simulators (HPS) which mimic the anatomy, physiology, and responses to treatment similar to that of a human patient.  HPSs can be set up for use in the operating room, critical care, or emergency medical settings and provide the unique opportunity for graduate students and other learners to deliver direct patient care void of the risk of injury to a real patient.  All HPSs share common characteristics including the measurement and display of vital signs, audible breath sounds, and palpable peripheral pulses.  Advanced systems include the ability of the simulator to speak, cough, tear, sweat, and have seizures.

In addition to HPSs, the Center boasts a wide array of simulation equipment for the purposes of training graduate students on complex and invasive procedures such as the decompression of the chest in the event of a tension pneumothorax, the use of ultrasound technology, and placement of invasive airway devices, central lines, arterial lines, and spinals and epidurals. Simulation allows for the practice of other high-risk interventions such as the induction of anesthesia which includes the administration of paralyzing agents, hypnotic medications that render a patient unconscious, and potent narcotics without posing any risk of harm to a real patient.  Graduate students are often comforted to have the opportunity to talk through these procedures and go at their own pace to gain a deep understanding of important underlying principles that guide safe practice; hands-on training in the clinical area does not always allow for the same given the fast-paced nature of the operating room environment.

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Simulation activities can also provide for hands-on training related to the management of critical anesthesia events that rarely occur in clinical practice.  Patients deserve providers who have been trained to manage unexpected events such as an intraoperative myocardial infarction, malignant hyperthermia, acute hemorrhage, hypoxia, unstable cardiac rhythms, and the like.  The critical thinking skills necessary to quickly recognize and successfully treat such complex issues in a timely manner can be developed in high-fidelity simulated environments.  The Center for Research in Human Simulation has been training health care professionals since 1999 and is utilized by students throughout the graduate curriculum to support the achievement of course and program learning objectives.