Welcome to the Pediatric Simulation Center at Children’s of Alabama. The Center creates a safe, realistic environment allowing health care providers and students to increase their knowledge, hone their skills, and practice teamwork in the context of real life patient scenarios. The Pediatric Simulation Center at Children’s of Alabama has more than 6,000 visitors per year and is the only pediatric simulation center in the state.

Our vision for the Children’s of Alabama Pe­diatric Simulation Center is to be a multidis­ciplinary center of excellence that provides high-fidelity simulation to promote education, research, and delivery of safe, innovative health care for children.

The Pediatric Simulation Center at Children’s of Alabama was established in 2007 to provide physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, students and other health care professionals with opportunities to perform common medical procedures and respond to rare, complex conditions and life threatening emergencies.

The Pediatric Simulation Center has…
  • 10 high fidelity simulators ranging in age from premature infant to adult or teen
  • 27 skills trainers
  • 6 faculty and staff members - 2 MDs, 3 RNs, 1 sim tech, 1 Office Associate
  • 24 adjunct faculty

The Center continues to grow and has ten simulators ranging in age from newborn to teen. Three of the simulators are wireless and can be used off-site. Last year we saw more than 5,000 visitors and conducted more than 900 simulations.  Our staff strives to maintain our vision of a multidisciplinary center of excellence that utilizes high-fidelity simulation to promote education, research, and the delivery of safe, innovative health care for children.

The Center’s mission is to integrate simulation throughout Children’s of Alabama in a structured learning environment that promotes excellence in clinical care, patient safety, and education for all pediatric healthcare practitioners and care teams.

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.

Faculty & Staff


nancy tofil 2013 Nancy M. Tofil, MD, MEd, Medical Director 

Dr. Tofil is the medical director of the simulation center.  She obtained her medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and her masters of education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Dr. Tofil is part of the division of pediatric critical care working in the pediatric intensive care unit and with the deep sedation service.  Besides directing the simulation center, Dr Tofil is the Associate Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program.


Chrystal Rutledge, MD, Associate Medical Director

Dr. Rutledge is the Associate Medical Director for the Pediatric Simulation Center. She obtained her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and completed her pediatrics residency at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Rutledge completed her fellowship in pediatric critical care medicine at UAB/Children's of Alabama. She attended the Comprehensive Instructor Course at the Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge, Massachusetts for simulation training. Dr. Rutledge has specific interests in outreach/community simulation as well as health disparities and simulation.
Lynn-Zinkan J. Lynn Zinkan, MPH, BSN, RN, CHSE, CPEN, Nurse Educator 

Lynn is a nurse educator in the Simulation Center.  She is a graduate of the Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing and received her masters in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Lynn has been a pediatric nurse for over 25 years working as an intensive care unit, emergency department and critical care transport nurse.

Amber-Youngblood Amber Q. Youngblood, BSN, RN, CPN, Nurse Educator 

Amber is a nurse educator in the Pediatric Simulation Center.  She joined the Nursing Education and Research Center in 2009 after 18 years as a staff nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  She has been employed at Children's of Alabama since 1991.

 Kandi Wise Kandi Wise, BSN, Nurse Educator
Kandi Wise has worked at Children's of Alabama since 2003 and is ACLS and PALS certified. She is a graduate of the UAB School of Nursing. Prior to joining the Pediatric Simulation Center, Kandi worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit as a bedside and relief charge nurse. She also has 6 months of orthopedic and rehab acute care experience. Kandi will complete her simulation training by the Center for Medical Simulation in August 2015.

Benz Andrea

Andrea Benz, Office Associate

Andrea Benz joined the Pediatric Simulation Center in January 2014. She spent time in the UAB Department of Psychology before coming to the Department of Pediatrics. She serves as the Office Associate for the center and has specific training in Oracle and Pava Payments.

Sim Courses

Course Scheduling
The simulation center uses a centralized scheduling system.  If you would like to request a simulation session, please email peds.simulation@childrensal.org.

This will allow us to meet your needs more efficiently and will ensure that we schedule simulations in the order in which requests are received.  Children’s staff and faculty will continue to have priority in scheduling requests.

The Pediatric Simulation Center offers a variety of clinical experiences for all health care providers and teams including nursing, medicine, pharmacy, counseling, respiratory therapy, and community groups and families of medically fragile children.

The Pediatric Simulation Center provides courses for a wide variety of learners from novices to experts. Whenever possible attempts are made to provide interprofessional experiences for all who care for children at Children’s of Alabama. Bi-monthly mock codes and monthly mock traumas provide in-situ learning opportunities and often yield information about Medical students in their pediatric clerkship work with nursing, respiratory and pharmacy students to care for pediatric patients. Pediatric residents start their intern year with specialized procedural training and attend regularly scheduled simulations as part of their behavior and development, emergency medicine, general inpatient pediatrics, pediatric critical care and other rotations. The center has benefitted from many founders fund grants which have been used to augment the educational opportunities. These have included: Treatment of Hyperkalemia in Patients with Renal RailureTeaching Residents How to Diagnose, Treat, and Manage Pediatric Patients with Diabetic Ketoacidosis Using Simulation-based EducationUse of Simulation to Help Teach Residents Processing of Evidence in Child AbuseUse of Simulation to Improve Cross Cover Skills Among Multidisciplinary Team Members, and Delivery of Bad News: A Simulation Enhanced Curriculum.

Many pediatric residents choose to do an elective in the simulation center to improve their teaching and learning skills. In addition, some residents spend additional time in the pediatric simulation center to improve in identified areas of deficiency. Pediatric critical care, emergency medicine and surgery fellows attend crisis resource management training and simulations targeted at a team approach to handling death and dying annually. Pediatric emergency medicine fellows are required to participate in monthly simulations targeted at identified procedures such as basic and advanced airway management as well as leadership development. Pediatric critical care fellows participate in simulations as part of their regularly scheduled conferences. Anesthesia residents participate in monthly pediatric anesthesia simulations as part of their pediatric rotation.

What to Expect

Human patient simulation technology is changing the way health care professionals are being trained. Our pediatric simulators can be programmed to physiologically act like any adolescent, child or infant patient that a health care provider might encounter. The simulators talk, breathe, have pulses, and a variety of anatomical features that allow learners to practice venous access, CPR, airway management, cardioversion and external pacing. The simulators have realistic heart, lung, and bowel sounds and can provide ECG, arterial, noninvasive BP, intracranial pressure, CVP and oximetry monitoring. 

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. 

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


Click here to learn more about SOM Scholarly Activity in Pediatric Simulation

Presentations & Publications

The Pediatric Simulation Center continues to be involved on a national and international level with the simulation community at large. Our research projects, conducted in a highly collaborative environment, are increasingly being accepted as innovative educational initiatives. The Center’s research has been published in the following journals:  Pediatrics, American Journal of Medical Genetics, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Critical Care Nurse, Journal of Graduate Medical Education, Medical Teacher, Academic Radiology, American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Prehospital Emergency Care, Pediatric Emergency Care, Clinical Pediatrics, and Medical Science Educator.

                           For a full listing of our Presentations & Publications, please click the thumbnail below.
Peds Presentations and Publications

Come See Us

Pediatric Simulation Center
Children's of Alabama
1600 7th Avenue South
McWane Building 306
Birmingham, AL 35233


Please email us to learn more about our center:

General Information – Andrea Benz

Nursing Education Courses - Lynn Zinkan, RN or Amber Youngblood, RN

Medical Education – Nancy Tofil, MD or Chrystal Rutledge, MD

To make a donation – Nancy Tofil, MD