NorthJersey.com recently did a profile of J. Cedar Wang, director of simulation education at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck. HealthySim really appreciates that this news agency did a piece sharing the professional career of a healthcare simulation champion — which helps to get the word out about the progress and power of simulation to the general community! Usually such news articles focus on the center and the equipment of simulation — so we thought this was a different and much needed angle on the people who make healthcare simulation work!
J. Cedar Wang oversees the only hospital-based health care simulation training center in north Jersey. The Institute for Simulation Learning “seeks to train anyone along the continuum of care, including physicians, nurses, social workers, first responders, even the front desk staff,” she says. Essentially, simulation learning is the process of recreating real-life medical scenarios for training purposes. It has long been used the by the military and aeronautics industries, but it’s increasingly being tapped by health care professionals who see the life-saving potential of training in a hands-on, high-pressure environment that mirrors typical and extreme emergency situations.
“We’ve come to realize that we can do better,” she says, referencing the opportunity to “improve both the collective medical response to an emergency situation and the patient experience through compassionate communication and other soft skills.”
Since the institute opened in 2013, Wang and her team have trained more than 5,000 people, averaging 400 “learner encounters” a month, in areas ranging from cardiac arrest to dementia sensitivity training. In Wang, Holy Name could hardly have found a better person for the job. A highly trained advanced practice nurse, gifted communicator and passionate educator, she possesses such a unique skill set that she easily balances simulation training with other duties ranging from grant writing and fundraising to marketing and, incredibly, construction management.
In 2016, Wang oversaw a 4,800-square-foot expansion of the simulation program, which was made possible by a $5 million grant from the Russell Berrie Foundation. The facility now features new simulated settings, including an apartment and a doctor’s office, as well as additional patient care rooms and a dual-purpose room that can be staged as an operating room or emergency room. “From cardiac arrest to seizures and childbirth, we are able to simulate every type of situation,” says Wang, explaining the crises her team of six full-team staff members (and their high-fidelity simulators) are capable of portraying.