July 21, 2022By Lance Baily

Mobile Simulation Centers Help Train Learners on the Go

While healthcare simulation centers are often utilized to train learners on medical procedures and practices, some may not have access to such facilities for a number of reasons. For example, those who do not live or work near a hospital or university might not be able to readily find the means of transportation necessary to seek training at a formal simulation center. To help combat this issue, mobile simulation centers provide a way to bring the training directly to the learners. This HealthySimulation.com article details mobile sim centers, how they work, and their benefits, and also provides examples of institutions and facilities using mobile simulation across the globe.

Typically, mobile simulation centers are created using a vehicle that can transport facilitators and equipment, as well as bring learners on board. To provide healthcare simulation scenarios, these simulation centers include patient manikins, task trainers, virtual reality devices, and other healthcare simulation resources. Once arrived at a destination, trained mobile sim center staff members complete an on-site set-up and provide instruction to learners on how to begin each clinical simulation experience.

Many mobile simulation centers also include camera technology to record the learners’ activities for debriefing following the healthcare simulation exercise. Classes aboard a mobile simulation center can range from being as short as a half-hour to as long as several hours depending on the focus and instruction being provided. An example of the type of instruction that can be provided by a mobile simulation center is the training to obtain American Heart Association Certification. This certification is granted through simulated instruction on Heartsaver/BLS for healthcare providers, advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric life support

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There are a number of benefits of using a mobile simulation center, in addition to the added convenience of being mobile. For example, mobile simulation centers have the built-in flexibility to provide instruction tailored specifically to the group being trained during that particular mobile experience. Often, learners in rural areas who may not be as experienced in healthcare simulation can take advantage of these mobile experiences to increase their knowledge and skills outside of their current program or practice.

Mobile simulation may increase awareness of the particular university or facility employing the mobile simulation unit as well – highlighting the advantages of enrolling in their program(s). According to LifeLineMobile, a manufacturer of high-quality and unique mobile units that can be used for a variety of mobile medical uses, additional benefits include that:

  • Space is freed up inside the health center because training is outside.
  • Expensive sim lab equipment can be shared across many sites, not just one.
  • Travel for employees is a short walk outdoors, not a drive across the county and back.
  • The mobile unit can develop income for the sim center because it can travel to colleges, and universities for nurse training on specialties, or to rural communities for EMT training.
  • Units can be designed for adult, child, and/or infant training. Some larger vehicles may have the capacity for all three, while smaller vehicles may be designed for individual patient types.

Recorded HealthySimulation.com Webinars:

Time to Go Mobile! Building a Mobile Simulation Lab for Better Patient Outcomes
Driving to Results: Addressing Critical Education Needs in Rural Settings with Medical Simulation

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Examples of Mobile Simulation

Mobile Simulation Program: Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance started the Mobile Simulation Program to allow training participants to practice emergency scenarios on life-like patient simulators without real-life consequences. Patient assessment, clinical reasoning skills, and group dynamics are all observed, evaluated, and (if necessary) reinforced according to current policies and procedures. Mobile Simulation Program training is currently performed on eight different patient simulators ranging in age and ability to suit training needs. The diversity of patient simulators allows for a wide range of training, and these scenarios cover everything from newborn to adult critical, acute, and chronic conditions.

VirtaMed Mobile Simulation Tour: During COVID-19, VirtaMed took the company’s simulators on ‘tour’ numerous times to support continued medical education and supply workshops for residents across Switzerland, France, and Germany. For example, the mobile surgical simulation lab was equipped with the latest mixed reality simulators and covered over 2000 kilometers (1250 miles) around Switzerland. The lab visited 16 Swiss university hospitals in total, starting in St. Gallen, continuing to Lucerne, Berne, and Geneva, and finishing in Lausanne.

Extreme Simulations: Extreme Simulations is an independent provider of technology-enabled medical solutions for crisis situations. The Company simulates and assesses emergency situations, using hyper-realistic tools and smart simulation devices to obtain real-time, on-site error identification and data analytics. Extreme Simulations develops and manufactures high-end medical simulators, featuring durability, realism, and ease of use. Our products have been validated by leading medical centers and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) medical corps. EXS product line includes exceptionally durable and realistic manikins, task trainers, wearable wounds, and training aids for surgeons. The company simulation operates extremely diverse scenarios, all offering unique and fully immersive simulation environments. The Company does its utmost to create the sensation that “the simulated incident feels real.”

UTHealth Houston Mobile Simulation Training Unit: A state-of-the-art mobile simulation training unit designed to enhance high-level adult and pediatric emergency medical care has been announced by UTHealth Houston. This mobile simulation center is a high-fidelity mobile unit equipped with state-of-the-art medical training equipment, lifelike manikins, and simulation technology. The mobile unit is implemented throughout Houston to train rescuers and lay public in partnership with the Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston, UTHealth School of Public Health, the Harris Health Hospital System, and local fire departments, as well as community outreach projects to teach lifesaving skills such as hands-only CPR, automated external defibrillator use, and choking rescue.

MedStar Mobile Simulation Lab: The MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab (SiTEL)’s Mobile Simulation Lab has played a critical role in MedStar Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the system prepared for a possible surge of coronavirus patients in spring 2020, MedStar SiTEL’s Mobile Simulation Lab traveled to numerous MedStar Health hospitals in April to prepare clinicians from other specialties to work in intensive care through a hands-on “ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp.” The Mobile Sim Lab is a fully-equipped, 40-foot truck-based simulation laboratory with two simulation bays that can hold up to six learners each, two control rooms, and a group debriefing space.

West Virginia Junior College, Camden Clark Medical Center Mobile Nursing Lab: West Virginia Junior College, in partnership with WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center, established a new mobile nursing lab as part of the center’s expansion of a hybrid online nursing program to Wood County. The 18-month nursing program allows learners to achieve a nursing degree “without ever stepping foot into a classroom.” Learners who participate in the Wood County program take their classes online, and attend lab and clinical experiences at WVU Medicine Camden Clark, and in the Mobile Nursing Lab, during evenings and on the weekend.

Obstetric Simulation Team: The multi-professional obstetric simulation team was created in Hospital Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda, Spain in 2015. The group offers 18 different training programs in Obstetrics and Gynecology. The founder and director is Professor Óscar Martínez Pérez. In 2016 he and his team created their own Ob&Gyn Sim Instructors Program where they have trained more than 250 multi-professional Obstetrics and Gynecology Instructors in these years. The team now has 15 instructors from different professions; anesthesiologists, midwives, nurses, and obstetricians. Members of the program travel to the hospital requiring training along with the simulation material and camera system. In Our website, learners can study the theoretical subjects online prior to the simulation.

Want to read more about mobile simulation? Check out this healthcare simulation book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Mobile Medical Simulation

More About Clinical Simulation

Clinical Simulation is a way for a Simulation Center to replicate real-world healthcare scenarios in an environment that is safe for education and experimentation purposes. The term “Clinical Simulation” can be broadly defined as the use of tools, devices, and/or environment to mimic a particular aspect of clinical care. Other more common terms for the phrase include Healthcare Simulation, Medical Simulation, Nursing Simulation, Simulation in Healthcare, and Surgical Simulation.

There are a number of advantages to utilizing clinical simulation-based learning. For example, through Clinical Simulation experiences, learners are able to challenge themselves to properly treat real-life clinical scenarios while essentially receiving in-classroom instruction. Additionally, such a wide range of easily accessible learning opportunities provides the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. The clinically simulated learning environment is also readily available and customizable, adding to the tool’s usefulness in clinics.

While oral exams, written tests, and assigned readings are traditional methods of secondary education, a Clinical Simulation uses technological advances to provide an accurate simulation for first-hand learning. This presents students or healthcare professionals the opportunity to learn from hands-on experience without putting actual patients at risk.

Another reason why Clinical Simulation is especially useful in academic settings is that it affords instructors a clear picture of a learner’s ability and skill set. Within a protected environment in which learners can use to perfect their skills, instructors can use the simulation to address concerns and errors in real-time. Thus, Clinical Simulation is an effective way to provide accurate feedback and evaluation of all student abilities.

Learn More About Clinical Simulation

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