Canadian Simulationists Breathe Life Into Training Manikins

Simulationists breathe life into training manikins

The press coverage of healthcare simulation continues to catch the public’s attention at facilities across the world! Recently this awesome article covered the work of Canadian-based Fanshawe College nursing simulations, and the connection to Ontario’s SIM-One group:

Fanshawe nursing students work with a simulator to hook up a colonoscopy bag. Christine Link sits inside a small room with two-way glass, watching a young woman in the classroom beyond. The nursing student seems unsure what to do with an elderly male patient in the bed in front of her. She lingers by the supply cart, as if looking for something. Link speaks through a microphone, which comes out of the manikin as a scratchy, old-man’s voice. She is playing the role of George, a grumpy senior with a respiratory condition. “Get me a drink of water,” commands Link. George has dirty tissues filled with fake mucus scattered around him. As the student fetches a cup, Link explains that she is waiting for the perfect teaching moment. “I would have the student hold it up to my mouth, and that’s when I’d cough.”

Link is one of a growing number of simulation experts working in medical, paramedic and nursing programs across the country. “Health care has really come a long way in how we teach and present material,” she says. “No longer are we injecting into an orange.” Link, who graduated from the practical nursing program at Fanshawe College in 2007, returned to the Ontario school as a part-time lab technician the following year. After stints as an instructor, in 2013 she became the simulation technologist, now responsible for running 15 manikins.

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At SIM-one in Toronto, a non-profit, national networking, training and R&D organization with 1,700 members involved in health-care simulation, CEO Timothy Willett says every college and university in the country has adopted the technique. In Ontario alone, 78 different programs and labs are using a total of 1,236 manikins and thousands more simulation tools.

SIM-one offers several online and in-person courses, including the brand-new 12-week Simulation Scenario Writing, Roleplay Theatre and Simulation Wizardry. They also train experienced simulationists to run their own courses, and each year about 15 to 20 are certified as simulation educators after they have completed three courses at a total cost of about $2,000. “As far as I know, there’s no kind of college programs you can go to with the intent of getting into that role,” says Willett.

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Master Simulation Skills with SIM-one’s Certified Education Program

Whether you’re a simulation novice or expert, SIM-one’s certificate programs and breadth of courses in simulation-based education can help you master the concepts of the field and advance your career in healthcare simulation. Learn about all of SIM-one’s certificate programs and course offerings below.

Mastering the Artistic Side of Clinical Simulation certificate program

Mastering the Artistic Side of Clinical Simulation (MASCS) focuses on the creative and psychological elements that bring simulations to life, enhancing fidelity, and increasing learner engagement. MASCS introduces the use of best practices and techniques for enhancing health professions education.

MASCS is designed to help mentor and support participants in developing a career in the exciting field of healthcare simulation. The experience and learning are grounded in networking and collaboration. Connections made within this program will be nurtured to further develop practice within the broad simulation community.

sim-one-Sabrina Boucher-and-Bruce-Ballon

Sabrina Boucher of La Cité collégiale (left) is the first-ever MASCS graduate. On the right is Dr. Bruce Ballon, director of education, SIM-one.


Students of the MASCS program were encouraged to be creative in a reflection submission. Above is Louise Moir’s submission, submitted with the traditional reflection paper.

Keystones of Healthcare Simulation certificate program

The Keystones of Healthcare Simulation is designed for those who are interested in a more immersive experience in healthcare simulation. This program supports participants in developing their careers as simulationists in roles such as educators, leaders, scholars, and faculty developers. As with MASCS, the Keystones experience is grounded in networking and collaboration.


2014 “Keystonians” (From top L to R: Lisa Kakonge, Leigh Andrews, Alicia Stewart, Anne Marie Renzoni, Gladys Mokaya, and Dr. Bruce Ballon. From bottom L to R: Luba Komar, Raya Gal, Donna Rampersad, and Lan McMillan).

“The Keystones is a program that helped me put perspective and knowledge together to make a very challenging learning environment a very rewarding and successful means to an end. I would highly recommend this program as it is very comprehensive and ‘hands on’ in its approach. The people that run this program have all the knowledge, direction and passion to help every health professional (regardless of which field) succeed in their own institutions.” – Dr. Dominic Giuliano, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC)

SIM-one’s courses in simulation

What are the essential elements of simulation? What are the imagination and psychological principles behind all simulations? How do you create the best possible scenarios? Their experts and leading simulation and healthcare education researchers will equip you with the knowledge and tools during discussions, interactive exercises, and group breakout sessions.

SIM-one’s courses are typically offered as two-day, in-person intensives, using an online flipped approach or a blend of the two.

Popular SIM-one courses include:

  • Briefing, Debriefing, and Facilitating a Simulation – Mastering the art of briefing, debriefing, and facilitation for a successful simulation.
  • Introduction to Simulation: The Essentials of Simulation-Based Learning – An accredited, two-day intensive introductory course that teaches the essential elements of a simulation.
  • e-Xplorers of Simulation – An introduction to using e-simulation and e-blended learning for enhancing clinical teaching and healthcare education.
  • SIMaginarium: The Imagination Behind Simulation – Examining the use of imagination and psychological principles that underpin all aspects of simulation.
  • SIM Research Primer – The perfect introduction to the world of research into simulation-based education and healthcare quality improvement.


Active listening during Briefing, Debriefing, and Facilitating a Simulation two-day course (November 13, 2015)

“e-Xplorers was a great eye-opener to how simulation can be adapted to e-learning needs.”

“The course was creative and fun. It was a great opportunity to work with colleagues on the activities that we can do together in teaching and facilitating.” (SIMaginaium)

“The course identified key aspects to simulation/medical education research that would not be apparent to a clinical researcher.” (SIM Research Primer)

All educators, health professionals, and individuals interested in learning more about simulation and/or becoming a simulation educator are welcome. Be sure to check their website for upcoming simulation-based courses and the full list of SIM-one’s course offerings.

About SIM-one

SIM-one is a not-for-profit organization that connects the simulation community, facilities, and resources across Canada and beyond. SIM-one advocates for and advances simulated learning in health professions education for the benefit of patient care and safety. Supported in part by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), SIM-one offers advanced educational training and online services that are open to simulationists and health professionals across the globe.

Learn about all these great programs at SIM-one’s website today!

Save the Date May 30th: 2016 National Forum on Simulation for Quality & Safety!

sim one quality and patient safety

On Monday, May 30, 2016, Toronto will welcome the first National Forum on Simulation for Quality & Safety – an exciting knowledge-sharing event on the growing interest in using simulation to improve patient safety and quality of care.

This groundbreaking initiative is a joint launch by SIM-one, IDEAS (Improving & Driving Excellence Across Sectors), Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), Accreditation Canada, Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC), Health Quality Ontario (HQO), and HealthCareCAN.

The purpose of the Forum is to:

  • Demonstrate ways in which simulation reduces adverse events, costs and financial risks for hospitals;
  • Promote evidence and examples supporting the use of simulation at the point of care delivery;
  • Highlight current Canadian leaders and their knowledge and insights into establishing hospital-based simulation programs; and
  • Motivate decision-makers to pursue the integration of simulation-based patient safety and quality improvement initiatives/education/programs at their organizations.

The event will be co-chaired by:

Dr. Teodor Grantcharov, MD, PhD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto; Canada Research Chair in simulation and surgical safety; creator of the surgical black box

Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) D. Brown, D.Phil
Director, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation; co-chair of the IDEAS Quality Improvement (QI) Program.

Attendees should expect a dynamic program that includes an inspiring and informative lineup of presenters from Canadian leaders in simulation in hospitals, and plenty of social and networking opportunities.

Mark your calendars now:

WHAT: 2016 National Forum on Simulation for Quality & Safety
WHO: All hospital and care delivery organizational leaders, administrators, quality and safety leads, hospital-based simulationists and researchers are welcome.
WHEN: Monday, May 30, 2016
WHERE: Sheraton Gateway Hotel Toronto International Airport, Terminal 3 Toronto ON L5P 1C4

For more information, please visit the Sim-One NFSQS Website!


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Canadian SIM-one Announces December’s Sim Expo Speakers & Agenda for 2015 Event!

sim one 2015

SimONE recently announced their 2015 conference speakers – Dr. Teresa Gore, president of International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation & Learning (INACSL), and Dr. Teodore Grantcharov, Canada Research Chair (CIHR-funded) in simulation and surgical safety. These two simulation experts are revolutionizing the field of simulation and will open day one and day two, respectively, of the expo.


Here is a list of just some of the workshop sessions you can attend at SIM Expo 2015:

  • Integrating Simulation Modalities to Enhance Team Responsiveness to Acute Deterioration in the Elderly
  • Compassion in the Face of Distress: Integrating Simulation and Therapy Techniques to Facilitate Emotional Regulation in Interprofessional Care
  • Frameworks in guiding general debriefing and in debriefing simulation with interprofessional skills objectives
  • A Beginners Guide to Debriefing
  • Strategies for the integration of Electronic Health Record/Informatics into health professions curriculum
  • 12 Hour Nightshift Simulation Event: Intraprofessional to Interprofessional learning events and lessons learned
  • Multimedia in simulation: building it in light of how human mind works
  • Increasing the use of simulation in preparing BScN students in the management of chronic disease
  • Integrating Simulation with Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Competencies
  • Budget Conscious Integration of Simulation into Existing Spaces
  • Improvisation for Simulationists
  • SimuCafe Conversation Circles


  • Multimedia in simulation: Building it in Light of How Human Mind Works
  • Integrating Simulation with Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Competencies
  • Interprofessional Education: Debriefing Team Competencies in a Large Scale Trauma Simulation


Ontario Based SIM-one Provides Upcoming Course in ‘Simulation Research: Best Practices for Planning a Research Study’


This has been a week for upcoming simulation courses and workshop announcements. It makes us happy to think that five years ago there was only a handful of courses every year around the world to train clinical educators in the process of medical simulation, now there is a course a week! This latest training program is an ONLINE course that you can take from anywhere on getting into Simulation Research.

Simulation Research: Best Practices for Planning a Research Study is facilitated and led by leading simulation and health care education researchers across Ontario. Facilitators will coach course participants through the process of building a research study based on their research question or interest. They will provide guidance on practical issues such as method planning, grant applications, knowledge mobilization planning, and team building.

Wed, September 30 to Wed, November 18
Hosted Online
Course Fee: $495 CAN

This eight-week course includes video-recorded lectures, interactive live webinars with expert researchers, and review & questions periods. It complements the Simulation Research: Primer introductory course.

Who will benefit?

Have a defined research question or hypothesis, but not sure how to begin planning your study? Or, completed theSimulation Research: Primer course and looking for more information? Then this course is for you.

What will I learn?

  • Tips & tools for building research questions into concrete research study plans
  • Guidance on developing a research study, including creating a study design (qualitative & quantitative methods planning)
  • Choosing and validating the right measurement tools
  • Knowledge mobilization planning
  • Guidance on applying for simulation research grant proposal(s)
  • How to build a strong research team

Learning outcomes & benefits

Participants will become familiar with the core concepts for planning a research study, including:

  • Steps to investigate a simulation research question
  • Creating and critiquing a research study method/protocol
  • Documenting a research study protocol and knowledge mobilization plan
  • Identifying human and physical resources necessary to complete a research study
  • Drafting a grant application

Learn more about this and other SIM-one courses at their website today!

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New Free Simulation Scenario Exchange Database from SIM-one

free simulation sceanarios

Proven Scenario Resources, Peer-Reviewed & Free!

Introducing the SIM Scenario Exchange—an online repository of simulation scenarios, tools and templates. Open to all healthcare professions, disciplines and sectors, the Exchange fosters the improvement of simulation practices, facilitates knowledge transfer and helps simulationists save time. The Exchange was developed with funds from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) in response to the community’s demand. SIM-one would like to thank Ontario simulationists who contributed to the development of the Exchange.

“The Exchange is a free and open resource made possible by the support of the healthcare simulation community,” said Dr. Tim Willett, SIM-one’s Director of R&D, who led the development of the Exchange. “The Exchange features an intuitive design that allows users to easily find scenarios and tools based on specific needs.”

At the click of the screen, users can search for simulation scenarios, scenario development tools and templates, and learner/scenario assessment tools for evaluation and research. In addition, users can contribute, modify and adapt resources on the Exchange.

The SIM Scenario Exchange™ is trans-professional (supporting scenarios and resources in all health professions) and trans-disciplinary. It supports excellence in simulation-based education by providing evidence-based, practice-informed and tested simulation scenarios – many of which are peer-reviewed.

Recent Scenario Contributions

  • Unstable Bradycardia — Contributed by Pam Morgan Professions: Medicine, Nursing, Practical Nursing
  • Venous air or carbon dioxide embolus — Contributed by Pam Morgan Professions: Medicine, Nursing, Practical Nursing
  • Malignant Hyperthermia — Contributed by Pam Morgan Professions: Medicine, Nursing, Practical Nursing
  • Community Home Visit with Postpartum Patient — Contributed by Karyn Taplay Professions: Nursing

Read the full press release here or visit the Free Simulation Scenario Database on SIM-one’s website.

SIM-one Promotes #IntegrateSIM Twitter Competition To Showcase Simulation Program Improvements

simulation on twitter

Timothy Willett MD, MMeD, (@SIMtim_oneDirector of Research & Development at the SIM-one Ontario Simulation Network wrote in today to share about “a twitter competition to learn how simulationists are moving beyond simply adopting/adding sim to meaningfully and deliberately integrating it into curricula and safety/QI processes.”

How do you #IntegrateSIM?

SIM-one wants to hear how you integrate simulation into your curriculum, clinical placement, quality improvement or patient safety practices. Let us know and you can win* a FREE ticket to this year’s #SIMexpo. *(The prize includes a free two-day admission ticket to the 2015 Ontario Simulation Exposition, but does not include travel or accommodation expenses. One entry per person. Odds of receiving the prize depend on the number of entries received.)

How to Play

Simply tweet how you integrate SIM and include #IntegrateSIM. Photos, videos & links are encouraged for your submission. The recipient will be announced on July 15, 2015. All eligible entries will be entered into a draw. Contest closes on June 30, 2015.


The recipient will receive one two-day admission* to the 2015 Ontario Simulation Exposition—Canada’s largest healthcare simulation event. The 2015 SIM Expo will be held on December 14 & 15 at the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel in downtown Toronto. View more details on the 2015 SIM Expo.

Updates and additional info will be posted @WelcometoSIMone. Make sure to follow SIM-one and include the hashtag #IntegrateSIM

Visit Sim-One.Ca for the complete competition guidelines and to learn more about the 2015 SIM Expo!

SSH President Announces Passing of Dr. Abrahamson, Medical Simulation Pioneer

From Pam Jeffries, SSH President:

Dr. AbrahamsonDr. Steve Abrahamson, Pioneer in Healthcare Simulation, (1921 – 2014)

July 15, 2014: Dr. Stephen Abrahamson, a pioneer in healthcare simulation who helped to develop Sim One, the first healthcare manikin, passed away Monday, July 14. He was 93.

The path to healthcare simulation started in 1964 when Dr. Abrahamson, then Director of the Division of Research at the University of Southern CaliforniaSchool of Medicine, was challenged to use computers in the medical school. Dr. Abrahamson saw the potential to use computers to help medical school educators improve education and outcomes.  His idea that an anesthesia student could learn from data rather than using a patient was unprecedented.

A collaborative effort among engineers, physicians, researchers and educators, Sim One allowed anesthesiologists to experience life-like interaction with a computer-driven manikin. A 1967 film of Sim One brought Dr. Abrahamson’s work to the attention of national media including interviews by Time Magazine, Life Magazine and Newsweek Magazine. While Sim One made national headlines, the medical community responded negatively, doubting the value of healthcare simulation.

Dr. Abrahamson lived to see his groundbreaking work become standard and widely accepted. Today, healthcare simulation is included in training of healthcare professionals worldwide.

Some notable awards that Dr. Abrahamson had received included:

  • Samuel C Harvey Memorial Lecture Award – 1981 – American Association for Cancer Education
  • Hubbard Award 1986- National Board of Medical Examiners
  • Merrell Flair Award in Medical Education – 1992 – Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Gravenstein award – 2000 -Society for Technology in Anesthesia
  • Simulation Innovation Award -2014 – Society for Simulation in Healthcare

On behalf of SSH and those within the simulation community, we want to express our condolences to the Abrahamsons family and friends.  The Society for Simulation in Healthcare is so pleased to have honored Dr. Abrahamson last year at IMSH in San Francisco.  Personal notes and condolences can be sent to Phil Abrahamson (, son of Dr. Abrahamson, who accepted his father’s award last January.

Shown here is the interview which played at IMSH 2014 between Dr. Abrahamson and Dr. Gaba, which highlighted Steve’s amazing story about building SimONE:

Canada’s SIMone Ontario Simulation Expo Starts Early-Bird Registration

sim one ontario simulation

Early-bird registration has opened for Ontario Canada’s SIMone expo — which has been called Canada’s “largest gathering of simulation champions” and is taking place this year in Toronto December 4th and 5th.

simulation canada

About SIMone:

SIM-one—the Ontario Simulation Network—is a not-for-profit organization that connects the simulation community, facilities, resources and services across the Province of Ontario. SIM-one advocates for and advances simulated learning in health professions education for the benefit of patient care and patient safety. Supported in part by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care (MOHLTC), SIM-one’s vision is to further position Ontario as the global leader in healthcare simulation. SIM-one provides valuable services to the healthcare simulation community, including education and training, research grants, the SIM-one website, and networking events such as the annual Ontario Simulation Exposition.

More about the SIMone Expo:

The Ontario Simulation Exposition (SIM Expo) is Canada’s largest gathering of healthcare simulationists

SIM-one’s annual SIM Expo is a special time of the year when everyone in the healthcare simulation community—from educators to researchers to technicians to industry—comes together to network and celebrate each other’s accomplishments. The special theme of this year’s SIM Expo is “Simulation & Communication”.

Special Features:

  • Engaging keynote speakers – past speakers have included seniors care advocate Samir Sinha, and Dave Williams, a Canadian astronaut and CEO of Lakeridge Health
  • Interactive learning sessions, including simulation workshops, a poster crawl, and the popular Simulation in Action
  • Exhibitor booths featuring innovative simulation products and services
  • Simulation awards ceremonies
  • And, most importantly, plenty of time to connect and network with like-minded professionals

The 2014 SIM Expo will take place on December 4 & 5 at the InterContinental Toronto Centre Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.

Learn more at the SIMone Expo Webpage!

MD Educator Starts Medical Simulation Research Update Twitter Feed

simulation research updates

Tim Willett MD MMEd, Healthcare Educator and Director of Research & Development for Ontario’s SIM-One recently shared in the HealthySim LinkedIn group that his twitter feed will be providing links to key community research articles in the medical simulation sector! Tim writes:

“Follow my tweets to stay up to date with healthcare simulation research. I monitor and post publications from 70+ journals related to healthcare simulation.

I scan for all modalities: mannequins, task trainers, phantoms, virtual patients and computer-based sims, serious games, virtual reality, standardized patients. “

Follow @SIMtim_one today to stay informed!

Do you know of any other Sim Champs sharing key research articles? Let us know!