University of Vermont

Clinical Simulation Laboratory

college of nursing and health sciences simulation activities

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences Simulation Activities

At the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, simulation based learning is an essential component within the educational programs offered. The Clinical Simulation Laboratory, centrally located between Fletcher Allen Health Care and the University of Vermont, is at the heart of interactive instruction that provides learners with state of the art simulated clinical experiences. Students may learn and practice in an error forgiving environment without risk of harm to patients/clients.

The CNHS faculty utilizes the CSL to increase, advance, and enhance active learning and active practice. Within the CNHS there is a commitment to:

  • The incorporation of evidence based simulation practice standards within program curricula
  • The continuing identification of technologies, complementary to simulation, that will better prepare students for practice in the 21st century
  • The creation of interprofessional initiatives that further explore and embed simulation based learning experiences into program curricula
  • The inclusion of research activities within the context of simulation
  • The provision of ongoing professional development programs for faculty to ensure quality in simulation teaching practices


In the Department of Nursing, simulation based learning is the bridge between the classroom and clinical practice. Students engage in simulation experiences at the onset of both undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula. By repeating and refining performance ability on life-like simulators or standardized patients, students master essential nursing and advanced practice skills. A variety of methods, including low- to high- fidelity interventions and hybrids, are utilized to create authentic patient situations. Standardized patients are being used extensively in all programs to heighten the experience of health history taking, physical examination, and assessment. Through active involvement during a simulation, students respond to unfolding events, apply prior knowledge to the circumstance, and further develop critical thinking skills that are requisite for safe patient care and sound clinical judgment.

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Simulation is integrated into the Communication Sciences and Disorders curriculum, providing a strong addition to our academic and clinical program, from introductory instruction to refinement of high level clinical skills. The use of simulation enhances instruction in basic technical and higher level clinical skills. The graduate students learn to efficiently work in a hospital room and practice clinical communication skills, including completing patient interviews and providing complex or difficult information to a family. Scenarios are designed to provide students with opportunities to integrate and respond to direct feedback and practice self-reflection as part of skill acquisition.

Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences

In the Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences, clinical experience is vital for all of our students in all three majors: Medical Laboratory Science, Nuclear Medicine Technology, and Radiation Therapy. The Radiation Therapy program employs VERTUAL to assist in teaching complex abstract concepts and techniques to treat people with cancer using a linear accelerator. This 3-D “vertual” environment allows students to practice these techniques in a safe and stress-free environment without patients present. Students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace and explore multiple techniques to deliver a dose of radiation to a patient. VERTUAL is basically “a flight simulator for radiation therapy,” that places a linear accelerator in the classroom. All students in the Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences benefit from simulation based learning by practicing the unique skills needed to become competent professionals in their fields and applying them in clinical practice.

Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences

Clinical simulation is used throughout the curriculum in the department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences. The Doctorate in Physical Therapy students hone their interview and examination skills on standardized and simulated patients, learn and practice body mechanics and patient handling in the Sim lab hospital rooms and practice vital sign assessment with the high fidelity mannequins. The simulation rooms offer students a safe learning environment where skills can be practiced and evaluated in a more lifelike and real setting; a setting that is closer to a real patient care setting than the classroom.

Last modified October 23 2014 12:01 PM