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National Healthcare Simulation Week

Two females in an operating room. One, in a navy uniform looks to be teaching the second, in scrubs. They are looking at a monitor hooked up to a dummy. In the Simcenter’s Clinical Skills lab, students practice their communication with patients, interpersonal skills, and bed side manners. (Image credit: Tom Balfour)

Val G. Hemming Simulation Center Hosts Open House

By Sarah Marshall

USU’s Val G. Hemming Simulation Center (Simcenter) is one of the world’s most advanced medical education centers, and is located just minutes away from campus on the Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring.

During National Healthcare Simulation Week, Sept. 11-15, USU faculty, staff and students are invited to tour the 30,000 square foot facility, where military health care professionals develop and maintain the skills they need to perform medical tasks safely and effectively, be it in austere environments or in treatment facilities across the globe.

Three females in military uniforms. In the background one crouches and holds a gun, covering the two in the foreground, one of whom is pretending to be injured. The third is applying a tourniquet to her right arm while she lies on the ground.
Maj. Julie Thompson, a USU nursing student, recently applies a combat action tourniquet to a “patient” during a scenario in the Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE) at USU’s Simcenter.  (Image credit: Airman Magazine)

While studying at USU, medical and nursing students will come to the Simcenter up to 34 times during their course of study, using the widest range of simulations to include simulated patients, mannequins, task trainers and augmented/virtual reality – all under one roof.  Each academic year, the center provides more than 70,000 hours of simulation programming in over 200 distinct sessions to USU medical and nursing students, WRNMMC interns and residents, clinical psychology students and first responders. Since its inception in 1999, the center has partnered with a number of public and private sector organizations, and is a founding member of the mid-Atlantic consortium of clinical skills centers that include colleges and universities in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.  USU’s Simcenter is also accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and the American College of Surgeons and is one of only six simulation centers nationwide to have dual accreditation at the highest levels granted.

A GoPro shot with red night vision of military personal helping a patient in the dark.
At USU’s Simcenter, USU students use simulation to develop and enhance the skills needed to perform medical tasks safely and effectively, be it in combat or in treatment facilities across the globe. Here, during a recent Advanced Combat Medical Experience (ACME) exercise, students run through night operation scenarios. (Image credit: Tom Balfour)

During next week’s Healthcare Simulation Week, the Simcenter will offer tours to all USU faculty, students and staff to demonstrate its many capabilities, including their Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE). Stepping inside this large-scale, immersive, virtual reality theater, you will feel as though you’ve stepped into the midst of a fire fight on the battlefield, or inside a field hospital, or in a helicopter portrayed with 3D images on large, vertical screens. WAVE scenarios may also involve preparing you for a disaster or putting you inside a C-17 critical care air transport aircraft to achieve an even more realistic environment.

The Simcenter also houses a large state of the art Clinical Skills Lab, where 12 clinical exam rooms are set up to provide learners with the ideal setting to practice physical exams, communication with patients, interpersonal skills and bed side manners.  Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the glass, professors observe students and offer feedback. The Simcenter is also pioneering the use of Virtual Patients that can be interviewed and express emotions on a computer screen. The newest technology uses augmented reality to show how you can look under the skin of a patient to see the underlying anatomy.

People sit at a line of computers with headphones on, working on separate projects
Faculty monitor students in the Simcenter’s Clinical Skills area. (Image credit: USU)

The Hybrid laboratory will demonstrate a wide range of mannequins and task trainers used to train for procedures and emergencies. Students use this methodology to practice skills such as advanced cardiac life support and combat lifesaving. The lab will also feature our innovative temporary tattoos that can be applied to skin and look like real wounds without the use of theatrical make-up or moulage.

Tours will be held Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and transportation will be provided between the University and the Forest Glen Center during that time. Learn more about the Val G. Hemming Simcenter and its capabilities on their website.