University of Calgary


March 30, 2011

Nursing faculty’s sim lab continues to expand

By Karen Cook

Shannon Parker is a simulation clinician at the U of C and a graduate of the nursing program. Photo credit Riley BrandtShannon Parker is a simulation clinician at the U of C and a graduate of the nursing program. Photo credit Riley BrandtThe University of Calgary’s nursing faculty has received a one-time, $300,000 grant from the Government of Alberta that will further enhance its role as a North American leader in nursing simulation education.

“Technology is improving the way health care professionals learn and prepare for real-world situations,” says Minister of Advanced Education and Technology, Greg Weadick. “It’s important that Alberta students have access to the most modern equipment possible.”

The CSLC is a $2-million facility that houses state-of-the-art patient simulators, technologically sophisticated video-recording equipment and student learning environments that can mimic home care settings and hospital wards. The centre has provided simulation education to a majority of the undergraduate and graduate nursing students at the U of C since it opened two years ago.

“The funds will allow us to expand in some areas where we have seen significant success incorporating simulation throughout our curriculum,” says Pat Morgan, director of the Clinical Simulation Learning Centre (CSLC).

In a unique application, assistant professor Candace Lind and instructor Aliyah Mawji have collaborated with the CSLC team to transform Imogene, a mannequin, into a battered homeless sex trade worker—complete with black eye, bloody nose, bruises, cuts and needle track marks—which has proven to be a powerful learning tool for students in community health.

“The students are asked to identify health problems Imogene is at risk for, but they are also challenged to identify their own assumptions, biases and beliefs that may get in the way of offering compassionate health care. She helps them grasp very important community health course concepts such as social justice and community development.”

The nursing simulation centre at the U of C continues to receive accolades from health care simulation suppliers across Canada and the United States. U of C faculty will present some of the CSLC’s findings this June at the annual International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation conference in Florida. The presentation will include the success of eDose, a web-based approach to teaching and assessing drug dosage calculation skills.

The CSLC also offers a unique inter-professional simulation, in conjunction with the Alberta Children’s Hospital child simulator, brings together students from the faculties of nursing and medicine and respiratory therapy students from SAIT to participate in clinical simulation scenarios.

“Inter-professional simulation opportunities provide an increased understanding of team dynamics for all of those who participate,” says Morgan.

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