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PTA student in a simulated experience

PTA students in a debriefing session

students reviewing their simulated experience

Physical Therapist Assistant

Simulated Clinical Experiences

The School of Health Science Simulation laboratory began operation in the spring of 2008. It is housed in the Doermer Family Center for Health Science Education. Physical therapist assistant students are oriented to the Sim Lab during the first semester of the curriculum. They participate in Simulated Clinical Experiences (SCEs) using the high fidelity human patient simulators in semesters two and three of the program.

The SCEs were developed by a PTA faculty member and are relevant to physical therapy and patient care practice in “the real world.” Students are given reading assignments and questions to answer that prepare them for learning during the simulation experience and guide them in the roles they actively assume. Students not only learn pathophysiology and practice clinical skills, they experience collaboration and communication with the healthcare team. Students have the opportunity to educate and interact with a family member(s) or significant other as would occur in a health care setting. Once the simulation is concluded, students discuss their performance and the performance of their peers as audiovisual feedback is reviewed during debriefing.

The most recent addition to the SOHS Sim Lab is the latest innovation by Medical Education Technology, Inc., iStan. This human patient simulator was built from the inside to outside to better resemble the internal functions and external characteristics of a human. The iStan model is considered a “non-tethered” model because he is not outwardly connected to a compressor and fixed computer station. Because of his independence and wireless capabilities iStan can easily be used in the classroom. iStan visits the PTA student lab during the second semester of the curriculum. Check out additional information on the Sim Lab from Cindy Ruich, MS, PT, CHT, PTA program faculty member and comments from two PTA students related to their Sim Lab experiences.

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