University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM/Fletcher Allen Celebrate Clinical Simulation Laboratory Opening

It takes practice to perfect clinical skills – from drawing blood to inserting intravenous lines to working as part of a trauma team. This practice has been difficult or impossible to obtain other than in the field. Now, thanks to a collaborative, interdisciplinary project of the University of Vermont (UVM) Colleges of Medicine and Nursing and Health Sciences, and Fletcher Allen Health Care, experience can be obtained in a non-patient care setting. UVM President Daniel Mark Fogel, Ph.D., and Fletcher Allen President and CEO Melinda L. Estes, M.D., helped usher in a new era in health care professional clinical education March 2 as they, along with UVM College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Sciences leaders, students, faculty and staff, officially opened the Clinical Simulation Laboratory in UVM’s Rowell Building.

The Simulation Lab’s 9,000 square feet of newly-renovated space on the second floor of UVM’s Rowell Building will serve all levels of learners, including medical students, nursing and physical therapy students, medical residents, physicians and nurses across the region, community EMTs and Vermont National Guard members. Designed to allow users to practice patient care skills in discipline-specific groups or as teams, simulation technology has been shown to positively impact patient safety, health care quality and outcomes. At a cost of just over $4 million, the Lab was supported by a generous gift from the late Thomas Sullivan, M.D., a UVM/Fletcher Allen medical alumnus from Etna, N.H., along with a $1.75 million federal grant secured by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

Features include adult and child mannequin simulators that demonstrate physical responses; six in-patient hospital rooms, each equipped with video cameras for recording and communicating; a multi-purpose room that can function as a simulated Operating Room, Emergency Room or Intensive Care Unit; a professional skills/task training lab with body-part models for learning how to draw blood, wound care, lumbar puncture, joint injection, insertion of central lines, insertion of IV line, arterial blood draw, chest tube insertion, and airway management; a virtual reality lab for practicing surgical skills; and debrief rooms. Standardized patients – community members who have been specially trained to accurately portray specific roles or conditions – will be used in conjunction with simulation technologies in this facility.

“At the University of Vermont, it is our mission to prepare students to be accountable leaders who will bring to their work dedication to the global community, a grasp of complexity, effective problem-solving and communication skills, and an enduring commitment to learning and ethical conduct,” said President Fogel. “It is a true joy to see fulfillment of that mission happening right here in this new Clinical Simulation Laboratory, to celebrate the achievements arising from an unprecedented level of collaboration and partnership, and to honor our shared commitment to the most important missions of teaching and learning.”

“This new space benefits not only students and trainees – but health care professionals and technicians at all stages of their careers,” said Dr. Estes. “Most importantly, it will have an impact on the way we deliver care to patients and their families – and help us to continually improve the quality of care.”

In addition to Fogel and Estes, key partners in the Clinical Simulation Laboratory project include UVM College of Medicine Dean Frederick C. Morin III, M.D., and Patricia Prelock, Ph.D., UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences Dean. The Simulation Lab leadership team includes Director of Clinical Simulation Michael Ricci, M.D., and Director of Operations Cate Nicholas, M.S., P.A., Ed.D. For more information about the Lab, view Clinical Simulation Laboratory.