Simulation in the Curriculum

The use of simulation is tightly coupled with both didactic and clinical training. Simulation is used throughout the program to enhance the attainment of programmatic goals. Such activities include the following lab practica:

First year students


Basic airway management

Alternative airway management
Patient positioning
Preoperative patient assessment
Non-invasive monitoring
Anesthesia equipment and cart set-up
Anesthesia machine check
Induction of general anesthesia
Basics of ultrasonography
Vascular assessment with ultrasonography
Vascular access with and without ultrasound-guidance


Second year students

Advanced clinical seminars
Advanced anatomy/cadaver lab
Ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia workshop
Vascular access with and without ultrasound-guidance

Third year students

Human Factors and Patient Safety DNAP 701 is a 15-week course that covers the advanced concepts and principles related to anesthesia crisis resource management (ACRM). The course provides graduate student nurse anesthetists the opportunity for hands-on experience managing critical clinical situations, which include overseeing the environment and working effectively with operating room team members. Student learners are video-taped as they manage an unfolding emergency while their classmates learn alongside them as observing participants. Immediately after the ‘patient’s’ critical condition has been rectified, the video is used in a debriefing session to explore the learner's experience and to discuss, as a group, factors that may have contributed to the crisis.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support practice
Pediatric Advanced Life Support practice

Other Learners

For many years, graduate nurse anesthesia students from around the country have traveled to VCU each year to experience Anesthesia Crisis Resource Management training in the Center for Research in Human Simulation. These students receive reading material and information about the course before arriving to the Center to prepare them for this intensive training. During this full one- or two-day course, students assimilate the principles learned in the readings with hands-on management of high-fidelity simulated anesthesia crises. The Center has hosted graduate nurse anesthesia students from Northeastern University, Old Dominion University and East Carolina University to name a few. The Center also offers opportunities for crisis management training for for CRNAs seeking continuing education credits for recertification.


The Center supports interprofessional education and has welcomed students from physical therapy, radiation sciences, dentistry, medicine, and biomedical engineering as well as emergency medical technicians, physicians, perioperative nurses, and other operating room personnel to who are eager to learn ways in which we can collectively improve communication and enhance teamwork to provide high quality patient-centered care.