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A Simulating Decade

Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinicals Skills Reaches Its 10-Year Milestone

When do healthcare professionals stop learning new techniques?

Never, according to Russell Metcalfe Smith, Cedars-Sinai’s executive director of Simulation and Interprofessional Education, who helped establish the Women’s Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in 2013.

Ten years later, 150,000 health professionals—as well as thousands of medical school, high school and middle school students—have passed through its doors to learn new techniques, improve existing practices and heighten team performances.  

Metcalfe Smith describes the center–nicknamed the “Sim Center” by Cedars-Sinai staff members—as a place to practice very basic techniques like chest compressions or more complex procedures such as heart or robotic surgery.Russell Metcalfe-Smith

“We want to make sure that we have well-prepared teams … it’s not just your physicians, it’s your nurses, technicians and everybody associated with the care of that patient,” said Metcalfe-Smith. “It’s a way to ensure that our workforce is much more prepared to deliver care to patients as it starts becoming increasingly complex and as our population is becoming older and sicker over time.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sim Center trained an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 healthcare professionals each month on how to use respirators, how to carefully put on and take off personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to manage cardiac arrest in patients with COVID-19. It also became a hub for testing new processes and equipment and even 3D printing necessary parts.

The 10,000-square-foot center contains two fully equipped and functioning operating rooms, adult and neonatal intensive care units, an obstetrics and gynecology room, and a trauma bay, along with classrooms and areas for education and skills training. In the computerized simulation room, physicians can practice almost every medical procedure, including robotic surgery and cardiovascular and ultrasound procedures, on computerized mannequins.

As technology advances, Metcalfe-Smith hopes there will be “more scalable and realistic use of virtual options as a way to augment the training” the Sim Center delivers.

Over the last decade, the Sim Center has partnered with the Los Angeles Clippers Mentorship Assist Zone to host special programs for high school students to get a closer look at healthcare careers. Metcalfe-Smith says he has seen students who appear to be disinterested but within minutes of learning proper procedures for administering CPR or suturing a wound, their entire attitude changes.

“It was like you turned on a light switch in that they could see ‘Wow, this is something that I could do as a career moving forward,’” Metcalfe-Smith said.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare have endorsed the Sim Center, which is the only facility in California to be accredited by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Surgeons.

“Cedars-Sinai’s culture embraces career-long learning and what we provide to our staff is pretty exceptional,” said Metcalfe-Smith. “It’s very often one of the highlights of people joining the organization and experiencing for themselves how we help prepare staff.” 

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Simulated Scenarios, Real Benefits