Take a look inside UAB’s simulation capabilities with these 10 photos

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On Aug. 30, 2023, UAB’s Office of Interprofessional Simulation hosted an open house in its newly updated, 5,000-square-foot, seven-room Simulation Center on the ground floor of Volker Hall.

The space includes four large patient rooms, a multifunctional classroom (used for large group pre-briefing and debriefing sessions), a task training room and a conference room.

“We wanted to give our colleagues from across campus a chance to see firsthand the simulation experiences that we can offer to learners, from undergraduates to graduates, to employees,” said OIPS Director Dawn Taylor Peterson, Ph.D. These experiences can include high-tech manikins that can suffer heart attacks and interact with learners, or tabletop simulation exercises that allow executives and clinicians in training to practice decision-making in a crisis, or something as simple as a table and two chairs in which students can work through difficult conversations in a host of fields.

Get a glimpse of the capabilities of the OIPS team in the photos below. (All images courtesy Brian Mezzell.)

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One of the most popular rooms at the OIPS Open House demonstrated the scope of non-health care educational simulations from OIPS.

In the photo above, Director of Research and Simulation educator Michelle Brown, Ph.D., (wearing the official OIPS olive-green scrubs), explains the Opioid Simulation, a tabletop simulation that provides health professions students and practitioners “the opportunity to understand opioid use disorder as a chronic, relapsing disease for which there is treatment and recovery,” according to the SimUAB® site.

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Above, Brown explains another tabletop-based simulation: Friday Night at the ER. This tabletop simulation (which can be glimpsed on the table behind Brown) challenges teams of four to manage a hospital over a simulated 24-hour period in just one hour; this experience is regularly offered to future executives training in the Master of Health Services Administration program in the School of Health Professions.

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Above, Brown explains how this simple desk, laptop and two chairs can provide a distraction-free setting for practicing high-stakes conversations — whether that is a genetic counseling student making a difficult diagnosis or a future manager learning how to give difficult feedback to an employee. “Many of the simulations we do are face to face, with students practicing one-on-one conversations” on a variety of topics, said Brian Mezzell, communications specialist for OIPS.

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Four rooms in the Volker Hall Simulation Center are set up as patient-care spaces. In the first image above, Clinical Simulation specialist Andrew Givan points out the features of one of the Laerdal SimMan 3G-Plus high-fidelity manikins. The complete SimMan is seen in the second photo. “The manikins can breathe and talk to you through microphones and speakers,” Mezzell said. “You can see their vital signs [on the attached monitor] and listen to heart sounds, bowel sounds and lung sounds through a stethoscope.” Learners can also take the manikin’s blood pressure through a normal cuff, practice blood draws, and use a range of other common equipment and clinical supplies, including the pulse oximeter shown on the manikin’s finger and even defibrillators.

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Above, Simulation Educator Erica Anderson, Ph.D., and Brown demonstrate the capabilities of their birthing manikin (a baby manikin, not shown, can be used in simulations). The manikins can be controlled remotely and express a wide range of physiological responses.

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In the first photo above, Anderson demonstrates airway and intubation training devices. Several learners at each table (typically medical students and physician assistant students) can practice the demanding process of intubating a patient. Learners and instructors can observe progress on the small and large monitors behind Anderson. In the second photo, Associate Professor Jill Deaver, head of the Lister Hill Library Department of Clinical, Academic and Research Engagement, tests out her skills at intubation while watching on the monitor.

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Above, Clinical Simulation specialist Ivory Daniels demonstrates some of the office’s procedural trainers. Using a handheld ultrasound system, learners can examine detailed vasculature in the manikins and practice ultrasound-guided needle sticks. They can also practice lumbar spinal punctures with the back-shaped trainer at right.

Trainers in OIPS include IV arms, arterial wrists, lumbar puncture, Foley catheter, airway management and many more.

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Above, Daniels and OIPS Director Dawn Taylor Peterson, Ph.D., discuss a task trainer for practicing inserting peripheral IVs. “You can pump them up and pressurize them,” Mezzell said. “That way, you get a blood flash in the needle when it is inserted into the simulated vein.” The simulated blood visible in the photo is a powdered mix combined with water and a touch of rubbing alcohol in order to keep the tubing clean.