we designed and built a hybrid simulation centre (the sim bay) - december 02, 2018

We have almost completed the build of our new Simulation Centre - The Sim Bay.
The Sim Bay is one of three simulation areas operated by the QEII Simulation Program, part of the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
It was built as a hybrid model that combines a high fidelity simulation (dry) lab and a cadaveric (wet) lab.

Below are some pictures and brief descriptions of the facility, including design ideas used in hoping to optimize the relatively small space and making it as functional as possible. Not seen below is our storage area, which is found beside the centre. You always hear about how you need more storage, and we fortunately have been given ample space, giving us the ability to keep our new facility clear of clutter.

There were many people involved with this project that all deserve recognition, but a few standouts are:
- The Sim Bay Coordinator and Sim Champion, Donna Warren.
She has worked tremendously hard this past year to make this project happen and be the success it has been.
- The QEII Foundation. Without their donor supported funding this project never would have come to fruition.
- Stantec design firm, for getting our ideas on paper
- Lindsay Contruction, for turning our paper plans into a beautiful space
- Carmelle d’Entremont, Dr. Brock Vair, Marilyn Girouard and the rest of the QEII Simulation Program family.

Don’t want to read the notes? Take the virtual tour here

The Entrance

front entrance.jpg

The front entrance of the Sim Bay is located from inside the hospital. Learners entering here are greeted by a calming backlit Avonite wall with shelving to drop their bags and a coat rack to hang their jackets. From there they enter into the Debrief Room.

- large door giving us the space to move beds and equipment in and out
- brushed glass film on door except for branding to increase privacy
- closet for storage (not seen)
- dimmable lights

The Debrief Room


The Debrief Room is where instructors prebrief and debrief simulations or presentations are given.

- large conference table (including power, network and TV HDMI ports) and chairs to accommodate 14 people
- magnetic glass whiteboard wall for notes
- window wall between the debrief and simulation room with a one-way film so learners can watch simulations they are not participating in, but cant been seen or distract simulation participants.
- ceiling speakers controlled to play either audio from the TV (presentations/debriefing video) or the simulation room (live feed)
- water bottle fill station
- 90 inch TV and laptop for presentations and live streaming/playback of simulations
- two credenza built-in refrigerators for food/drinks
- large door giving us the space to move beds and equipment in and out
- lots of electrical plugs
- dimmable lights

The Simulation Lab


The Simulation Room is where learners preform simulations with our advanced patient simulator (SimMan 3G).
The room will be set up to have all the equipment they need for their simulation to be successful.

- working head-wall with gases and suction
- two monitors, one for vital signs and the other for various images (xray, ultrasound, labs, etc.)
- three overhead cameras and ceiling mic to stream/record simulations (B-Line Medical)
- telephone to call (the control room) for assistance
- designated fluids/drug area
- sealed off room to assist with noise control
- sink
- door to outside used for deliveries / staff (brushed glass film on door except for branding to increase privacy)
- stairs to the elevated control room
- lots of electrical plugs
- dimmable lights

The Control Room


The Control Room is where the technician and educators go to run and observe a simulation.

- built two feet above ground for better viewing of the simulation lab
- three overhead TV’s that live feed the three cameras in the simulation lab
- desk space for multiple computers - vital signs / camera recording / patient simulator operations / images (xray, ultrasound, labs, etc)
- bench seating with storage
- telephone to receive or call into simulation lab
- joystick to control camera views
- wall mounted speakers to hear simulation lab
- controllable microphone to speak into the simulation lab overhead speakers (voice of god) or to earpieces on planted actors (Listen Technologies)
- microphone to speak into wireless speaker under the bed (patient voice)
- blackout blinds for outside windows
- one-way glass to see into simulation lab but cant been seen or distract simulation participants
- dimmable lights

The Cadaver Lab


The Cadaveric Lab is where the educators can teach surgical skills in a simulated operating room. We are lucky enough to have access to Dalhousie Universitie’s Clinical Cadaver Program.

- stainless steel walls
- overhead OR lights
- two body cadaver fridge (Mortech Manufacturing)
- surgical instrument washer/disinfector (Steris Healthcare)
- scrub sink
- two working head-walls with gases and suction
- closet with mop sink / storage (not shown)
- lots of electrical plugs
- dimmable lights

If you didn’t check out the virtual tour earlier - go have a look

equipment we use - vol 3 - control and debrief rooms setup and tech

For my third installment of 'equipment we use' I thought I would review how we setup our control, simulation and debrief rooms tech.

By no means do I say these setups or product seen here are the best or that they are the right solution for you - they are just things that have worked for us, and might assist in your search to find solutions for yourself.
Please note that I have no affiliation and no financial gain with any company.

Lets start with our Control Room. As you can see below we have (left to right):
1. Dedicated telephone line. When simulation participants want to call for assistance (from a phone we have in the sim room) they call this line and an educator can answer and reply appropriately.
2. All-in-one vital sign computer. We keep this in the control room and just splice the feed to the simulation room. We like not having this mounted in the sim room as this way gives the technician more control, and the ability to quickly unplug it and take it to insitu simulations.
3. AV Recording laptop. This lets us control the starting and stopping of recording a simulation so it can be used for debriefing / reviewed at a later date.
4. Desktop speakers. These let us hear what is happening in the simulation room, and the volume control is within arms length of the technician.
5. Patient Simulator laptop. This controls the simulator. Also easy for us to unplug to take to an insitu simulation when required.
6. Desk light. We have a dimmer switch on the rooms light switch, but if the tech needs some more light this can be used.
7. Camera joystick. This enables us to move any of the 3 ceiling mounted cameras easily and quickly if a view is obstructed. I highly suggest joysticks over touchscreen camera controls.
8. Overhead TV's (x3). These give us a view of what each camera is live streaming/recording, and can be watched if the two-way mirror gets obstructed.
9. Overhead / implanted actors microphone. We can switch the mic to be used for the simulation rooms overhead speakers, or to talk privately with actors (confederates) in-ear headphones.
10. Patient Simulators voice microphone. We run this mic separately from the overhead / implanted actors mic, as since its totally wireless, we can easily take it to insitu simulations.
11. A/V laptop. We use this to load images (ECG's / Xrays / etc.) that the educator supplies to show participants in the sim room.

We have seating for the technician and two educators in front of the two-way mirror.
We opted for cushion covered file cabinets for storage / extra seating along the back wall. These are used by extra educators, or small groups of participants instead of watching a live-stream in the debrief room. They can sit and watch the three ceiling mounted TVs.
We probably would have designed the room to be located behind the head-wall, but this room was built long ago and the gases/suction head-wall was placed on the outside wall - limiting our option to a side view.

In the Simulation Room (below), we have:
1. Overhead cameras (x3) and microphones (x2). These are for our live-streaming/debriefing system and the three TVs in the control room (split feed).
2. Dedicated telephone line. Used for participants to call for assistance (they call into the control room).
3. Vital signs TV (x2). We have the option to display either on the TV above the gas/suction wall (most users) or to change it to the monitor on top of the Anesthesia machine. Anything to keep anesthesia happy ; )
4. A/V TV. We use this to show images (ECG's / Xrays / etc.) that the participants might need/ask for.

Lastly, our sweet and simple Debrief Room (below). 
Just a big conference table to seat 14, a laptop and TV for presentations, live-streaming and/or debriefing.

If you've liked this edition of equipment we use, please feel free to check out my first two:

Vol 1 - communication with confederates / patient simulator voice

Vol 2 - online booking calendar

thesimtech.com newsletter - september 09, 2014

OK - back to updates after a few months off. Please send me an email if you have any information to share.

Arielle Glenn emailed me about a great new site she and David Escobar started called Sim360. From their about page:

We are founded on the belief that for every one person who shares medical knowledge and experiences, many will benefit. By providing the medical simulation community with the resources for technical, operational, and administrative support, Sim360 strives to spread that benefit as far as possible. The best part is, our support system is available completely free of charge. We seek to bridge the gap between simulation vendors, support providers and the users they service – we believe that the entire medical simulation world can be “do it yourself”. Sim360 targets simulation centers with minimal to no funding left to pay for new products, let alone maintain the products they currently own, and works collaboratively with professionals across the nation to support and troubleshoot the center’s issues. Sim360 values community above all, and seeks to inspire collaborative teamwork between medical simulation experts everywhere.

Go check them out here: http://sim360.org

I'm not totally familiar with their line but looks like CAE has a new birthing simulator - Fedilis. She can be used as a birthing simulator, or as an adult female. Watch the video for more info, or check out their website here: http://www.caefidelis.com/

Also just noticed they have a nice document site:
"The Documentation section is designed to be your archive of learning materials for our products and patient simulation. Here you will find everything from the content of CAE Healthcare’s Learning Applications with sample SCEs to orientation guidelines, programming tips and other useful resources."
Check it out here: http://www.caehealthcare.com/eng/resources/documentation/

Check this out: someone just introduced me to this great simulation link - http://trueplasticsurgery.wordpress.com/
From the 'About' page:

"My name is Cyle Sprick. I am a paramedic, a biomedical engineer, and the director of the clinical simulation unit in the school of medicine at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. This blog is a public forum where I intend to share my thoughts about simulation in healthcare education, particularly technical musings. I sometimes tell people that when I’m working on one of our manikins that “this is true plastic surgery”, hence the name of this blog."

sonosim livescan

This looks cool... SonoSim LiveScan instantly transforms healthy volunteers or mannequins into ultrasound training cases with real pathologic conditions. Apply SonoSim LiveScan Tags to designated anatomic locations on either volunteers or mannequins. The Tags serve as ultrasound scanning windows. Read more about it here: http://sonosim.com/livescan/

Jani Wallenius wrote me from Finland to introduce me to Nordic Simulators. They specialize in Sim Center design and debriefing video solutions. Check out more about them here: http://www.nordicsimulators.com

Military Moulage has released part 4 of there blood series: Theatrical Blood Effects for Realistic Casualty Simulation: Part 4

Check out their great tutorials!

Some news from the Halldale group:

3D Systems has completed the acquisition of Simbionix for $120 million in cash.
3D Systems says the combination of Simbionix's 3D surgical simulation and training tools with 3D Systems' clinical capabilities in planning and instrumenting for complex personalized surgical procedures and 3D printed implants and patient-specific medical devices will accelerate the creation of a personalized healthcare platform that extends from the training room to the operating room.
Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3DS Systems says acquiring Simbionix extends the company’s “first mover advantage in the fast growing field of 3D printing enabled personalized medicine," complements its healthcare offerings and enhances its “seamless digital thread for patient-specific healthcare.” He said, “From the training room to the operating room, we are developing the digital thread for personalized medicine."

And more from them:

NCSBN Study:
A study by the National Council of State Boards’ (NCSBN) National Simulation Study: A Longitudinal, Randomized, Controlled Study Replacing Clinical Hours with Simulation in Prelicensure Nursing Education found substituting high-quality simulation experiences for up to half of traditional clinical hours produces comparable educational outcomes to those students whose experiences are mostly just traditional clinical hours and produces new graduates that are ready for clinical practice.
The study found substituting high-quality simulation experiences for up to half of traditional clinical hours produces comparable educational outcomes to those students whose experiences are mostly just traditional clinical hours and produces new graduates that are ready for clinical practice.
The longitudinal study included incoming nursing students from 10 prelicensure programs across the U.S. who were randomly placed in one of three study groups:
 Control group (traditional clinical where up to 10 percent of clinical time was allowed in simulation)
 25 percent simulation in place of traditional clinical hours
 50 percent simulation in place of traditional clinical hours
The study began in the 2011 fall semester with the first clinical nursing course and continued throughout the core clinical courses to graduation in May 2013. Students were assessed on clinical competency and nursing knowledge and they provided ratings on how well they perceived their learning needs were met in both the clinical and simulation environments. A total of 666 students completed the study requirements at the time of graduation.
The study found that up to 50 percent simulation was effectively substituted for traditional clinical experience in all core courses across the prelicensure nursing curriculum, but did not affect NCLEX pass rates.
Participants were followed into their first six months of clinical practice – and the study found no meaningful differences between the groups in critical thinking, clinical competency and overall readiness for practice as rated by managers at six weeks, three months and six months after working in a clinical position.
The full report is available as a supplement to the Journal of Nursing Regulation (JNR) and can be accessed from the NCSBN website.


I received an email saying the AliveCor IPhone 4/4s heart monitor is on sale for $59.99 down from $199.99. Check out more here if you are interested: http://store.alivecor.com/collections/heart-monitors/products/alivecor-with-case-for-iphone-4-4s

thesimtech.com newsletter - march 24, 2013


Hi everyone... thesimtech.com keeps growing, slowly but surely. There are some new Scenarios, XRAYs, ECGs, and moulage instruction downloads so check them out if they can be of use.

Also wanted to give a big thank you to Lance at healthysimulation.com for the mention. Check out his great site!

simSTAFF Survey

Jason Irving of simSTAFF is collating a "Pulse of the Simulation Industry" Survey to help their clients attract and retain the best quality candidates. If you are passionate about the Simulation Industry please complete the confidential survey here...

The SSH has started a program to certify Simulation Technicians/Specialists.

The Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) announces the initial stage of the program to certify Simulation Technicians/Specialists has begun. Following the successful launch of the Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) in 2012, work has begun to develop this new healthcare simulation certification program. Read more…


The International Pediatric Simulation Society

International Pediatric Simulation Symposia and Workshops (IPSSW)

April 23-25, 2013

New York City, NY

The meeting will cover a broad set of topics related to the art and the science of simulation-based education and training applied to pediatric/perinatal medicine. More here...

Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine

19th Annual International Meeting of the SESAM

June 12-15, 2013

Paris, France

This meeting will be an outstanding occasion for the SESAM to gather simulation users from all over Europe, but also to a larger extent from other continents, and exchange about scientific, educational, and many others aspects of Simulation in Healthcare. More here...

uman Patient Simulation Network (HPSN)

HPSN World 2013

June 30-July 2, 2013

Our largest and most comprehensive event, HPSN World brings together healthcare simulation experts and novices from around the globe to share best practices and see new simulation technologies.  HPSN World 2013 will be in San Francisco, and it's a must  for everyone who wants to optimize their simulation learning environment and see the latest in healthcare simulation technology. More here...

Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists (simGHOSTS)

August 6-9, 2013

San Antonio, Texas

An annual meeting and online resource website to provide the growing number of Sim Techs from around the world with the hands-on training and knowledge they need to successfully operate and maintain medical simulation labs. More here...

SimTecT 2013

September 16-20, 2013

Queensland, Australia

Simulation Australia, the national body for those working in simulation in Australia, will bring together the SimTecT 2013 and SimHealth 2013 conferences for the first time in 9 years. This exciting joint conference will explore the concept of "Crossing Boundaries". More here...

Asia-Pacific Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare

Shanghai, China

October 24-27, 2013

We are excited to present 3 key content tracks: faculty development, curriculum integration, and research and development. Within each of these tracks you will find both general as well as specifically focused content. More here...

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons

Simulation Summit

November 8-9, 2013

Vancouver, British Columbia

The Royal College invites all health care professionals to experience the latest innovations in simulation-focused learning, research and practice at the 2013 Simulation Summit. More here...


Some great Sim at Southeast Arkansas College...
The Secretion-based Nasal Obstruction Trainer (SNOT)...
I love these CPR ads...
Here is a good new one...
A cool vintage moulage kit...

That's it for now... but please get in touch if you have any comments, suggestions, or content that I could add.
Happy Sims...