FAQs - SimLEARN
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s important to ask the right questions when using the SimLEARN website site to learn more about simulation in healthcare. So we’ve separated the answers to commonly asked SimLEARN questions into sections. For in-depth information about specific topics, please review the appropriate section of this website.
"A working definition of a virtual patient is: an interactive computer simulation of real life clinical scenarios for the purposes of medical training, education, or assessment. Users may be learners, teachers, or examiners."
Source: Ellway, R. Candler, C, Greene, P and Smothers, V. MedBiquitous Virtual Patient Working Group (with additional input from the MedBiquitous Technical Steering Group. "An Architectural Model for MedBiquitous Virtual Patients, Draft White Paper, September 11, 2006
"The Simulated/Standardized Patient (SP) is a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician. In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings, and the emotional and personality characteristics as well."
From HS Barrows Simulated (Standardized) Patients and Other Human Simulations, 1987 Source: aspeducators.org (Website of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators)
"In the health and medical sciences, SPs are used to provide a safe and supportive environment conducive for learning or for standardized assessment. SPs can serve as practice models, or participate in sophisticated assessment and feedback of one's abilities or services. The use of simulated scenarios involving humans is rapidly expanding to meet the needs of many high-risk service fields outside of human health care."
Source: Gayle Gliva-McConvey, BA, Director, Theresa A. Thomas Professional Skills Center, Chair, Standards of Practice Committee Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Industry typically defines human simulators as low, intermediate or high fidelity. The functionality of the mannequin increases along a spectrum from low to high fidelity.
High fidelity mannequins body or part of a body to physically represent the patient, and have physiologic and pharmacologic models that direct real time computer programmed autonomous reactions to interventions and therapies.
Typical high fidelity functions being:
Intermediate fidelity or instructor-driven partial or full body mannequins may interact with the user in limited ways, but the bulk of responses are created by the instructor through computer controls.
Low fidelity mannequins can be used effectively for preliminary instruction and do not have autonomous reactions or computer controls.
A number of studies have been published comparing high and low fidelity mannequins for clinical performance training and assessment. Results from these studies are mixed based on the scenario.
Typically, the integrators capture video, simulator log files, session annotations, and evaluations. Integration technology is used to centralize and automate the recoding and management of simulation learning sessions.
Some integrators provide tools for scenario and checklist creation and generate multiple types of usage, session and aggregate reports.
The major advantages of learning skills in a simulated environment are that each procedure can be practiced repeatedly until the proficiency has been achieved. Most importantly, because the procedure is performed using simulated, virtual, or standardized patients, no real clinical harm is done when the user has a procedural or judgmental error.
Many academic and non-academic organizations offer training in clinical simulation education principles and simulation technologies. You may wish to research options through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, contacting your affiliate, contacting key accreditation organizations (e.g., ACS, ASA, etc.) or other colleagues involved in simulation education and training.
The key question to ask yourself is whether you are interested in the key principles of simulation education or whether you are more interested in principles in training of a particular type of scenario. Certainly starting with the principles of clinical simulation training would be foundational to your program. The particular scenario specialization at your medical center should then be driven by your clinical education priorities in which simulation is a preferred education modality.
You should send an email outlining your interests and providing any marketing information you have available to VASimLEARNGeneralInformation@va.gov. SimLEARN staff will contact you for further information. Requests for appointments can be sent to this same address, but should be accompanied with detailed information on the product or services.
SimLEARN champions have been identified by each VISN. Attached is a list of those names and their contact information.
Their role is to:
So much of simulation in healthcare training is about learning in context. So simLEARN feels it's important to place simulation information and resources in context of related information. Instead of isolating information based on who you are or what you do, the SimLEARN website places resources and information with related materials so that context is maintained.
In addition, by providing users with related, contextual information, SimLEARN gives them the opportunity to explore other simulation experiences and resources that they may not have known about.
Two things may have occurred. One, this information may be archived in the SimLEARN Library section. Two, the SimLEARN subject matter experts may have either incorporated it with other similar information or they may have determined that it was outdated or no longer relevant.
Debriefing clinical simulation experiences serves to explore, analyze and synthesize learners' actions, thought processes, emotional states and other information to improve performance in real situations. Optimal debriefing maintains psychological safety and gives accurate evaluative feedback. It is characterized by providing feedback on any observed mismatch between actual and desired performance (advocacy); investigating the basis for the mismatch (inquiry); and helping to close the performance gap through discussion and didactics.
Simulation in healthcare training is about learning in context. Sometimes the training deals with how healthcare practitioners work with others. Sometimes simulation training is focused on the context of a specific discipline. SimLEARN provides curricula for these two broad categories of context.
It may be that your role as a healthcare practitioner is covered in a related curricula. Or the specific curriculum you're looking for is still under development. If your feel the information you are looking for is not represented in the SimLEARN website, please contact us.
Emergent, complex medical events are nearly always managed by multidisciplinary teams. Typically problems stem from human factors errors such as failure to plan, failure to cross monitor actions of team members, poorly designed work processes, fixation, etc. During a crisis, care givers' physiology changes and their ability to process information is affected. Deliberate practice is critical to the development of highly functioning teams and optimizing clinical outcomes.
SimLEARN will develop standardized national curricula for VA use in prioritized clinical topic areas. The curricula will not be mandated, but the field will encouraged to use the curricula to drive evidence based practice.
The priorities will be driven by consideration of a number of factors, including (but not limited to):
Simulation modalities typically considered to support curricula include:
The modality used will depend on the clinical topic addressed in the curricula. The intent is to use the most appropriate and effective modality and may actually include a blend of simulation and non-simulation approaches.
Your input is welcome and invited. This can be as simple as a thoughtful email to (insert hyperlink). Note that the most helpful recommendations are those that include information about:
This information will be reviewed by the SimLEARN Steering Committee and SimLEARN staff as they establish priorities for the program.
A curricula development cycle, with prioritized topics, will be established and published after development of the strategic plan in FY 2010. The opportunities will be numerous, the challenge will be in the prioritization process. This is why stakeholder involvement is critical to the process.
The designers and developers of the SimLEARN comply with Section 508 guidelines when drafting the pages within this site. All pages are tested in-house using technology and human assessment. In addition, the SimLEARN website follows VA Directive 6102. This directive provides procedures and interaction guidelines for internet and intranet sites for which the VA is responsible.
Thank you for your interest in helping to grow the SimLEARN website. Please contact us through our General Information email. Other contact information is available on the Contact Us page.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs wants to ensure consistency across all of its websites. It has instituted a template for interface, links, resources, and technical aspects which are common to all VA internet web pages. VA policy requires the use of this web page template to maintain this consistency.
Yes. Several of our pages that have information which changes frequently. These pages give you the option to receive RSS updates. Look for the orange RSS icon for more information on how to activate this useful feature.
Yes. Though some of the resources on the site are naturally VA-specific, the main body of information is available to everyone.
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