On July 17, 2009, the Acting Under Secretary for Health authorized the establishment of a national simulation training and education program for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Dubbed the "Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network," or SimLEARN, the program is improving the quality of health care services for America's veterans through the application of simulation-based learning strategies to clinical workforce development. The program operations and management are aligned with the VHA Employee Education System (EES) in close collaboration with VHA's Office of Patient Care Services (PCS) and Office of Nursing Services (ONS).
While the use of simulation for health care training and education is not new to VHA, it has become critical for VHA to develop an integrated approach to better realize the maximum benefits of simulation for VHA staff and the Veterans they serve.
- Establish a national simulation center (the SimLEARN National Center) focused on the use of technology that will enhance workforce training and outcomes of care.
- Establish the Resuscitation Education Initiative (REdI) as a national program for ensuring consistent, high-quality BLS/ACLS/ATLS training across the VHA system.
- Develop and oversee a VHA strategic plan for simulation process modeling, training, education and research.
- Provide operational policies, procedures, standards and guidelines on best practices for simulation activities.
- Collaborate with the Department of Defense, academic affiliates and other non-VHA entities to advance mutual interests in simulation.
- Collaborate with VHA's Office of Health Information and VA's Office of Information and Technology to define the business requirements for an IT infrastructure to support the business needs of the simulation program.
- Assist in determining specifications and best value choices for simulation equipment and processes.
Advancing VHA Clinical Simulation Training - Fact Sheet
The Employee Education System (EES) Simulation Division provides simulation-based, clinical education and training using a train-the-trainer model, and sereves as the hub that supports a National Simulation Network of over 150 VA medical centers that conduct simulation-based clinical training locally delivered to their staff. Based at the VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center in Orlando, Florida, this division combines the use of simulation-based training, curriculum development, teamwork and debriefing of scenarios using audio/visual to reinforce learning, along with Advanced Cardiac life Support and Basic Life Support training to increase the clinical skills of staff members throughout VHA.
The SimLEARN fact sheet provides a brief look at the program, as well as an overview of the VHA program office partners supporting SimLEARN. Please click this link to download and/or print the SimLEARN fact sheet.
VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center
The VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center was built on the campus of the new Orlando VA Medical Center, which is part of the exciting new "Medical City" campus at Lake Nona.
The Lake Nona development site includes other large clinical, education and research facilities. A variety of Federal simulation research offices are in close proximity at the University of Central Florida campus. This strategic placement facilitates enhanced opportunities for research in new simulation technologies and methods.
The VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center serves as the operational hub for coordination of all national VHA clinical simulation activities.
Click here for more about the VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center.
Activities of the VHA SimLEARN National Simulation Center
Development and delivery of national simulation-based training curricula
Creation of national policies, procedures and standards for conduct of simulation-based training across a network of VA medical facilities
Coordination and support of Veterans Integrated Service Network and medical center simulation-based training programs and feedback on local curricula
Development of serious games, virtual environments and virtual patients to support health care education and training
Simulation technology innovation, evaluation and development
Simulation technology technical support
Human factors evaluation and systems testing
Advanced surgical training using virtual reality simulators
Interprofessional Advanced Fellowships in Clinical Simulation
Management of VHA’s Resuscitation Education Initiative, or REdI, a national simulation-based training program in coordination with the American Heart Association for internal training of Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certifications
National acquisition of simulation equipment
*The center’s train-the-trainer and train-the provider approach uses the most suitable modalities of simulation to include mannequin-based simulation, standardized patients and hands-on task trainers.
Certified Simulation Centers
SimLEARN staff recently awarded simulation certifications. These certifications are scheduled to be awarded to qualified facilities twice each year; in June and December. Facility certifications last for two years and are renewable. They are a distinctive accomplishment. There are three tiers of certification: basic, intermediate and advanced. Below is a link to the full list of certified facilites. A facility can request certification after one year of existence while meeting the basic level criteria. A non-binding email of intent and certification application is required. Please contact the team by sending an email to EESFacilitySimulationCertification@va.gov.
Click here for a complete list of certified simulation centers.
The Resuscitation Education Initiative (REdI) is a national program to standardize, document, track and monitor the provision of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) training throughout VHA. REdI is a department within the EES Simulation Learning Education and Research Network (SimLEARN).
Hospital Activations Team
The SimLEARN Hospital Activations Team began testing new VA medical centers (VAMCs) in 2012 to work with local staff and rehearse patient flow, as well as test hospital systems for unanticipated events or situations. To this end, SimLEARN was asked to apply simulation technology to tackle one of the greatest challenges facing medical practitioners and hospital risk managers which is to identify previously unknown clinical issues as VA "stands up" hospitals.
A video about this innovative team is available on two formats: YouTube and Bright Cove.
We'd like to hear from you.
Do you have a suggestion, question, or comment about your SimLEARN experience? Please take the time to share it with us. SimLEARN is committed to providing resources and support for those involved in simulation learning. Your input is vital to making this happen.
There is a wide spectrum of health care professionals and learners using simulation. And the goal of the SimLEARN website is to provide useful information for every segment of that spectrum. Your input will help. We value your comments, questions and suggestions, and we are eager to hear from you.
If you experience any technical problems with the SimLEARN website, please contact the SimLEARN website webmaster.