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Medical Simulation Expert Honored With Academy Fellowship

Russell Metcalfe-Smith, Director of the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills, Becomes a Fellow of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy

Russell Metcalfe-Smith, director and associate professor of the Women's Guild Simulation Center for Advanced Clinical Skills, has been invited to become a fellow of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy, making him the first to earn all three of the most important designations within the healthcare simulation profession.

Metcalfe-Smith is also a certified healthcare simulation educator-advanced (CHSE-A) and a certified healthcare simulation operations specialist-advanced (CHSOS-A). These certifications distinguish him as a leader in healthcare simulation operations and education, and a mentor to others in the field.

The Society for Simulation in Healthcare, which awarded all three honors, seeks to improve performance and reduce errors in patient care through the use of simulation, an identical mission to that of the simulation center Metcalfe-Smith helped establish at Cedars-Sinai in 2013.

"The fellowship was designed to recognize leaders in the field and to highlight an individual's expertise," said Metcalfe-Smith. "I believe there are only 101 SSH fellows across the world. And the simulation center at Cedars-Sinai is also unique. We are the only simulation center in California to be accredited by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and the American College of Surgeons, and endorsed by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare."

The 10,000-square-foot center is an immersive environment that includes two fully equipped operating rooms, intensive care units for adults and infants, an OB-GYN room, and a trauma bay. In its computerized simulation room, clinicians can practice almost every medical procedure, including robotic surgery, on computerized mannequins.

"We have absolutely incredible facilities," said Metcalfe-Smith. "The simulation center supports the organization's academic mission in providing the best possible patient care. It helps break down professional barriers by bringing together clinicians who traditionally train separately—doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others—and replicating what they do in a working environment."

Training in the simulation center is facilitated by physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals along with a dedicated simulation team. "They all contribute massively to the organization's goal of delivering this education," Metcalfe-Smith said. "We normally serve 15,000 to 20,000 people a year, and it is great for me to receive recognition, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes, and without them, this would not be possible."

Metcalfe-Smith's career in simulation began in London in 2003 when, making use of his experiences as a registered paramedic, resuscitation practitioner and healthcare leader, he established an advanced healthcare simulation training center for the National Health Service. In his nearly two decades in healthcare simulation, he has seen the profession expand and transform.

"Simulation was initially used for CPR training, and then anesthesia and surgery," Metcalfe-Smith said. "But now, people are using simulation to develop new clinical spaces, such as operating rooms, to investigate adverse events that have taken place, to test equipment, and to plan for future pandemics. Today, if you think of simulation, don't just think of training. Think of research projects, testing systems and processes, preventing potential adverse events and patient safety issues, developing new medical procedures."

The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic provide an example of this, as the center trained thousands of clinical staff to protect themselves against infection, but also became a hub for testing new processes and equipment, and even 3D printing necessary parts.

"Coming up on a decade of use, the simulation center is a place for research, a place for innovation, and a resource for every single department," Metcalfe-Smith said.

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