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Virtual (medical) reality: Medical students statewide share their Simulation Center experiences from multiple phases of training


Students training in a Simulation Center lab

The Simulation Center at Fairbanks Hall was recently accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. This accreditation in the area of Teaching/Education applies through Dec. 31, 2022 and signifies that the center demonstrates regular, recurring simulation educational activities with clearly stated objectives in the areas of knowledge, psychomotor skills and behaviors, and provides evidence of ongoing improvement of educational activities.

The Simulation Center is a successful collaboration among IU Health, IU School of Medicine and IU School of Nursing to provide state-of-the-art simulation education and innovation to thousands of professionals and students in a multitude of medical events and scenarios annually. The center is organized into a virtual hospital and a virtual clinic. Simulation modalities include healthcare task trainers, human patient simulators, and computer based programs.

IU School of Medicine MD students take advantage of learning experiences at the Simulation Center during all four years of medical training. Here are some of their favorite experiences working with the center:

Jeremy Sherer, MS4, Terre Haute Campus

“At IU School of Medicine, we use the Simulation Center in multiple phases of our training and for a wide range of uses. The school has gone above and beyond to make sure we have the learning tools available to excel in our clinical experiences. Before starting our surgery rotations, we were invited to the Simulation Center to get hands-on experience with many of the tools, techniques and scenarios integral to many surgical cases. I learned the meticulous vertical mattress suturing technique in the Simulation Center just days before having the opportunity to perform the skill in the operating room. My most memorable experience in the Simulation Center was learning heart sounds with Dr. Vu, who programmed the human-like patient to exhibit several different heart pathologies and taught us what to listen for each one.  What the Simulation Center truly excels at is creating a learning environment that represents what we will see in our clinical practice.

“I’d also like to highlight that IU School of Medicine’s regional campuses are also doing incredible simulation work. Some of my earliest and most foundational clinical training took place at the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative (RHIC) Simulation Center in Terre Haute, IN.”

John Wells, MS1, Indianapolis Campus

“During my first semester as a medical student, I am very thankful to have been able to utilize the Simulation Center at Fairbanks Hall. The opportunity to conduct multiple patient interviews with numerous standardized patients has vastly increased my confidence and my ability to complete a patient history. In particular, I have always been impressed with how well the standardized patients know their roles. Every time I’ve gone, I’ve had a unique standardized patient. When I’m performing the interview, I am fully immersed in the actor’s performance and believe the persona and backstory he or she is portraying. After conducting the interview, it is always entertaining to meet the actor when I return for feedback. The feedback given by the standardized patients has always been presented to me in a benevolent, comprehensive and productive fashion.

“Practicing conducting interviews with standardized patients and the feedback I’ve received from them has enhanced my history-taking with actual, non-actor patients when I’m shadowing physicians in the clinic. The experiences I’ve had with the Simulation Center have been invaluable training opportunities that have promoted my development as a future physician. I look forward to returning in the spring to continue my training by performing a complete physical exam.”

Matt Logsdon, MS2, South Bend Campus

 “In medical school, the workload can be intense and the tests are often challenging. The Simulation Center gives students a chance to make mistakes in an environment that is designed for learning and is inherently risk-free. The professionalism and composure of the staff at the simulation center has consistently made my experiences there enjoyable and valuable.”

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

IU School of Medicine

With more than 60 academic departments and specialty divisions across nine campuses and strong clinical partnerships with Indiana’s most advanced hospitals and physician networks, Indiana University School of Medicine is continuously advancing its mission to prepare healers and transform health in Indiana and throughout the world.