What is Simulation?

Simulation is “a technique, not a technology, to replace or amplify real experiences with guided experiences, often immersive in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.”

Gaba, D. (2004). The future vision of simulation in health care. Quality and Safety in 
Health Care, 13 (Suppl 1), 2-10. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/qshc.2004.009878

Simulation is used to improve performance of clinical skills in both technical and non-technical areas. Task trainers are used to improve technical skills such as inserting an intravenous catheter. Task trainers are durable and can be used repetitively. Simulators, also known as manikins, come in all sizes from premature babies to the elderly and are used in immersive scenarios where clinicians can focus on non-technical skills such as teamwork, communication, prioritization, and other skills that improve patient safety. Standardized, or simulated, patients are real people trained to portray the role of a patient and are also used to enhance non-technical skills. We use hybrid simulation models when we want clinicians to learn technical and non-technical skills at the same time, for example, inserting a catheter in a task trainer while answering questions asked by a real person (standardized patient). Virtual reality simulators offer opportunities for repetitive training with feedback provided by the computer system that can evaluate movements unseen by a live facilitator. In the surgical skills lab, animal tissues are used to train clinicians in both technical and non-technical skills.