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Simulation Lab continues to grow

Marshfield Clinic's commitment to utilizing state-of-the-art technology to help improve the quality of patient care is clearly evidenced in the growth of the recently renovated Patient Simulation Lab (Sim Lab).  

Opened in 2007, Sim Lab provides hands-on educational opportunities for physicians, residents and allied health professionals through in-person and self-directed simulation opportunities.

"The updated Sim Lab is critical to training our team," said David Heegeman, M.D., an emergency medical physician and director of the Sim Lab. "Residents, students, nurses and many others in our system benefit from learning and practicing skills in the new environment."

"Designed to give a real life feel to procedures and skills, the Sim Lab allows high-fidelity training in a safe environment," he added.  "Experts provide real-time feedback and practice can be repeated until the learner is proficient in the skill before attempting the skill on patients."

Simulation allows learners expanded opportunity to refine their skills in a safe learning environment. Not only does this type of education enable providers to focus on improving medical skills including basic and advanced life support, pelvic examinations, basic ultrasound, suturing and splinting, but there are also communication and professionalism elements to simulation training.

In late 2013, the Sim Lab added an office exam room, surgical bay, scrub room, control room and classroom. Simulations can now be recorded in private bays to allow learners to perform as if they were in an actual setting with a patient. A recording of the learner's performance can be played back and analyzed by both the learner and instructor to improve performance skills for patient care.

"Patient safety and high quality of care is paramount, and simulation is a key tool for achieving this," said G. Joseph Kilsdonk, Au.D., Division of Education administrator. "Structural changes made to the simulation center were done to reflect patient environments: outpatient, emergency and inpatient."

Simulating real-life working conditions is important in the educational process: it closely replicates a clinical situation, helps learners retain knowledge longer, allows for multiple clinical experiences in a brief time period, enhances critical thinking skills and provides the opportunity for interactive learning in a safe environment.

"As a result of gifts received recently from a group of Marshfield Clinic physicians and providers, we were able to purchase a key piece of simulation equipment for acute care life support training.  We are extremely grateful for the Marshfield Clinic physicians and providers who contribute their expertise as faculty as well as contributing financially to support the Simulation Lab," Kilsdonk said.

Over the past seven years, countless physicians, nurses, medical residents, student learners and other health care workers have benefitted from the simulation experience, including Haley Eastin, M.D., a second-year Marshfield Clinic pediatric resident.

"While there is no substitute for actually doing a procedure on a real patient, having a simulation lab available provides an opportunity to practice procedures and get comfortable with your skills," Eastin explained. "That way, when you are called to perform the procedure on a real patient, you are far more confident."

"Additional practice allows you to take better advantage of opportunities as they present themselves," she added.

The Sim Lab needs additional financial support, including the opportunity for special recognition through naming rights. Contact the Development Department for more information on this special opportunity and other ways you can support the Clinic's education mission.