Simulation Centers and Faculty/Staff Development


Good morning, everyone. I am the skills lab coordinator at a fairly small private college, but almost 1/3 of the students are nursing students (undergrad and grad). I am currently in a master's program and am starting to work on my project (as opposed to a thesis).  My assistant and I have recently opened our sim lab with a SimMan3G and SimBaby. We will be starting sim time in the fall. 

My question to you is this- I am looking at developing either a video or a manual for either student or faculty orientation to the sim lab.  What do you think is needed the most? I am thinking to focus on the students right now, so that I can use it for our lab.  It will just be myself and my asssistant running the simulations in the fall and we hope to train faculty for the spring semester.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I have noticed in my clinical placements (for my degree) that the students don't get a lot of time with the manikin or room orientation and have also noted that as a comment in several studies. Thanks and have a great day!

Colleen Koszelak

D'Youville College

I work at a Community College and we hold an orientation usually 2 to 4 hours in length for the students to familiarize themselves with the mannequins. I have a brief power point that outlines the importance of simulation in safe and effective care of clients, other professions using simulation and the features of the mannequins.

We give them the rules of the simulation center, wearing gloves, no pens in the clinical area, and no food or drink in the clinical area. The faculty reinforce that mannequins are to be treated as a client; with dignity, respect and receive safe nursing care.

Following the orientation the students receive hands on orientation to the mannequins,pulse points, IV versus the pulse arm, auscultation of first normal and then abnormal sounds. It is important that they know where to listen and what each sound is. This decreases their anxiety when they have their first simulation.

This year we developed a scavenger hunt for the students to familiarize themselves with the location of supplies. The students can schedule additional time to familiarize themselves with the mannequins.

I downloaded an orientation off of the SIRC site several years ago:

"This script was provided by Suzie Kardong-Edgren PhD, RN, Assistant Professor at Washington State University College of Nursing in Spokane and Editor-In-Chief Clinical Simulation in Nursing"

It is great tool to use with first year students new to simulation. I was not able to include the document but it may still be on the site under downloads.

I hope this helps, good luck and have fun!

Thank you for such great information!

Something we have done here as well, especially once you get more types of simulators, is create a "Quickview" for both in the room for the students and in the control room for the faculty.  This "Quickview" consists of a picture of the simulator, and lists where different things can be found.  For example, you can have a heading of Left Arm and under it list things like Blood pressure, brachial and radial pulses, or Torso - bowel sounds, heart sounds, lung sounds. If there are injection pads on the simulator, they should be listed as well.  Something very simple, but it's kind of a "cheat sheet" so the students aren't trying to remember which side the pulses and BP are versus the IV arm. We don't have the SimMan3G, but I'd be happy to send you one or two of ours to see if it might help for during the simulations.  We put it on the wall at the head of the bed as a quick reference.  Good luck!!

Jennifer McCurdy

Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Picture of Martha Hepler
Re: student and faculty orientation to the sim lab
by Martha Hepler - Saturday, September 29, 2012, 8:50 PM
Hi, Colleen! I, too, am relatively new in simulation, but I just went threw this daunting task. Some of the things I included in our orientation were: We include a lot of information for the lab, but what I feel is most important is:

1. lab rules (hours, professional behaviors, dress, no food/drink, no ink, cleaning after oneself, treating mannequins as real people, disposal of sharps and "contaminated wastes, so on)

2. simulation contract and confidentiality agreement (students need to feel this is a safe environment, so what happens in lab, should stay in lab)

3. Orientation to the lab itself (layout, how things work such as the beds, IV pumps, medication dispensing machines, oxygen (air) flow, suction, cameras, so on)

4. Specific orientation to mannequins. They need to be told what each mannequin does and be allowed to interact with the mannequin so that they can feel where the pulses are, how to take the BP, what abnormal and normal sounds are, how to interact and talk with him; in terms of 3G, show them how he seizes, cries, sweats, urinates, his pre-programmed sounds, his monitor, so on). Our rep actually shared a "simulation orientation" scenario with us (not from Laerdal but an outside source). In this scenario, 3G actually talks and tells the students what to do throughout the entire scenario. It was used on faculty today and was GREAT!

Those are the most important things, related to students. They need to understand that our simulations are to be treated like real situations in the hospital (or other healthcare setting). The various roles they may simulate can also be discussed.


I really appreciated all you have done to orient students to the sim lab. Would you be willing to share a copy of your simulation contract. My email is Thanks!

Mary Lou Morales MSN, RN