CSU, Chico News

Clinical Simulation Center Receives Accreditation

Date: 06-14-2010

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

The Society for Simulation in Healthcare announced the accreditation of the Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center, a center established by the California State University, Chico School of Nursing in partnership with Enloe Medical Center and Feather River Hospital.

The “Rural SimCenter,” as it is known, was accredited in the area of education and teaching. The accreditation process for simulation centers is new. Only 10 centers throughout the world were selected by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare to undergo accreditation this year.

The Rural SimCenter is located at 560 Cohasset Road at the Enloe Medical Center Cohasset Campus.

“The Rural SimCenter is an exemplary rural education center, and the fact that it was chosen to be one of the first Simulation Centers selected for review is a testament to the quality of their educational programs,” said Sherry Fox, professor and former director of the School of Nursing.

The SimCenter provides a realistic environment for health care personnel to practice complex skills and protocols using computer-controlled mannequins as well as “standardized patients” — volunteers who are trained to manifest specific health problems.

Scenarios of many different health events and conditions can be practiced and refined, with no harm or inconvenience to real patients. Simulation is perfect for providing nurses and others with the opportunity to work with critical events that may be seen rarely in actual practice, but which require extensive training and practice to develop efficient responses.

Simulation centers offer the potential to increase safety for patients, improving team communication and speeding up the time it takes for nurses to respond in critical events.

The lifelike mannequins can be given medications, resuscitated, and have procedures performed on them. They can also be programmed to change their breathing and heart rates on cue along with other physical changes as well as programmed for many different emergency situations.

The actions of the team are recorded, and participants review the tapes to “debrief,” so they can identify how performance can be improved. Much like the use of simulators for training pilots to respond to critical events, simulation is becoming a standard for the training of health care personnel.

The Chico SimCenter has been in operation for three years. During that time, more than 5,000 simulation trainings have occurred for nursing students and nursing staff at Enloe and Feather River, as well as for pharmacists, physicians and emergency responders.

Under the direction of CSU, Chico Professor Becky Damazo, the center has grown and gained national recognition. The center provides education to faculty and staff educators from all disciplines who are interested in learning to use simulation methodology, a specialized process that focuses on adult learning.

The SimCenter serves as a training site for nursing faculty throughout the region and beyond. The center has trained nursing faculty from Butte College, Mendocino College, Pacific Union College, Shasta College, College of the Siskiyous, Humboldt State University and American River College, as well as faculty from other states.

“Accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare reflects the quality of the Chico simulation center in meeting the training needs for health care personnel for the Northern California region,” said Fox.