What to Expect


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                                                                                                                               Photo by Justine Cooper


The Pediatric Simulation Center gives learners the opportunity to build knowledge, practice skills, and improve teamwork to ultimately improve care for our patients and families.  We make every attempt for our simulation situations to be as realistic as possible with our current technology.  During your simulation session you will encounter a simulated patient as well as other healthcare team members and possibly family members. During the event, you are asked to take this very seriously and immerse yourself in the scenario.

We hold a basic assumption for every learner that visits our center:

Everyone participating in activities at the Children’s of Alabama Pediatric Simulation Center is intelligent, well-trained, and dedicated to improve their care for children.

It is important to understand the capabilities of our manikins before you visit the center for you to make the most of your learning experience.  The sections below give specific information related to manikin capabilities and typical scenarios.

General: Treat the simulator as you would a patient.  Do everything that you normally would do in a patient situation.  Try not to pretend.  You can do most procedures and maneuvers normally.  In some cases, we have provided a way for you to accomplish tasks in an abbreviated manner.  Usually there will be a Simulation Center staff member who can help keep you oriented and supplied.

The Patient:  All of the patients have an identity and other appropriate information.  They will have a medical history and circumstances that have led them to the situation you encounter.  The patient may have eyes that open or blink but no skeletal movement. Patients can cry, talk and answer questions at an appropriate age level.  If they are talking, assume they are responsive. 

Breathing:  The patient breathes spontaneously and has chest rise and fall. The newborn, baby and young child simulators will turn blue around the mouth, indicating cyanosis.  Breath sounds are present over most areas of the chest and include wheezing, stridor, grunting and can be diminished or absent. Pulmonary compliance can change. If you are unsure what you are hearing or where to hear it best, ask for clarification.

Airway:  The patient can be masked, intubated, or an LMA can be inserted.  Oral and nasotracheal airways can be used. A surgical or needle cricothyroidotomy can be performed if necessary on some patients. 

Circulation:  The baby simulator has a palpable left radial and brachial pulse and bilateral femoral pulses.  The newborn simulator has palpable right brachial and umbilical pulses.  The child simulators have palpable left and right carotid, radial, femoral and dorsalis pedis pulses that are pressure dependent.  The teenager simulator has left and right carotid, femoral, posterior tibial and dorsalis pedis pulses as well as left radial and brachial pulses.  Chest compressions can be performed on a poorly perfusing patient and must be done correctly to have a beneficial effect.  Pacing, cardioversion and defibrillation can be done on each simulator and you will be assisted in this process if necessary.  The patient will not “jump”. Use standard caution with defibrillators; some deliver actual energy.

IVs and Meds:  Use existing IVs normally.  New IVs may be started on the right arm of all simulators and it will be clear if this step is necessary. IO’s may be inserted in the tibia of the newborn, baby and child simulators. You MUST actually administer fluids and medications to produce the desired effect.

Monitoring:  ECG, SpO2, NIBP will appear if you connect the usual leads. Additional invasive monitoring may be present depending on the scenario.

Lab Tests: 12 Lead ECG’s are available immediately on the baby and teen. A 12 Lead ECG is available on the child if pertinent to the case. Lab studies and x-rays can be ordered on all patients and will become available if necessary for case management. Bedside glucose is available on all patients.

Code Cart & Records: Use the code cart and keep records as you typically would. 

Consults: You may ask for a consult with a medical specialist. If pertinent to the case one will be available by phone or in person. 

Confidentiality: What happens in the SIM lab stays in the SIM lab; please do not discuss cases outside of the debriefing room.

Adapted with permission from the Center for Medical Simulation

Check out the photo gallery to learn more about the center and what we do.  You may also contact us to get directions to our center.  Click here for a Pre-Briefing Video for learners who are new to simulation.