WISER Develops Ebola Clinical Response Team Training & Receiving Centers Through Simulation

wiser ebola simulation

Our friends at the WISER Simulation Center at UPMC has been actively developing and supporting a variety of educational programs focusing on Clinical Response Team (CRT) Training for response to highly communicable diseases.

From the initial onboarding of the CRT, to skills training, competency assessments and maintenance of knowledge, WISER has been collaborating with Emergency Preparedness to provide high quality training and assessment of the team. Due to their integral role, WISER helped to coordinate and participate in a PA Department of Health (DOH) evaluation exercise as part of the process to become an Ebola Assessment/Treatment Facility for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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As a result of over 100 people working together, UPMC has been officially approved and is now recognized as an Ebola Receiving Facility. UPMC has the privilege of being part of the Ebola treatment network which includes both Front Line Facilities and seven Regional Treatment centers. WISER Director Dr. Paul Phrampus commented they are “proud to be part of such an amazing team!”.

Learn more about the WISER Simulation Center and Training Programs

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Save $200 on WISER’s October iSIM Course to Improve Simulation Instructional Methods

simulation instructional training course

Save $200 on the October iSIM course provided at the UPMC WISER Center with this special HealthySim discount code!

Improving Simulation Instructional Methods Assessment, Debriefing, Comprehensive, and Development are just a few words that describe WISER’s iSIM Improving Simulation Instructional Methods (iSIM) course.

iSIM is a three (3)-day immersive program designed to cover the fundamental skills for the creation and delivery of high quality simulation-based healthcare education through a variety of techniques and technologies while emphasizing hands-on learning through active participation.

The program is intended for healthcare professionals and educators who are interested in improving their instructional skills. Each participant will engage in an interactive experience and gain knowledge and skills to enhance their ability to design and conduct simulation-based learning and assessment activities.

The course has been designed and is actively facilitated by internationally renowned experts in simulation and faculty development from WISER at The University of Pittsburgh, and The Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education at the University of Miami. This course will prepare educators to enhance their skills using simulation methods. The iSIM course is held at WISER in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania three times a year.

Register now for the next available iSIM course in October and save $200 by using the discount code (WISER!).

Visit the WISER website to learn more & enroll today!

WISER Provides Simulation Courses For All Staff Positions

healthcare simulation training program

Did you know that UPMC’s WISER Simulation Center offers several courses and programs to help those in the simulation community improve their skills. Our iSIM course is offered in various worldwide locations and we have had preceptors from all over the world spend time watching and learning at WISER.

Courses include:

iSim: This 3-day internationally renowned program, created in collaborative effort between WISER at the University of Pittsburgh and the Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education at the University of Miami, is designed as an introduction to fundamental skills and abilities for delivering simulation-based healthcare education through a variety of techniques and technologies. The program emphasizes hands-on activities and active participation to maximize simulation-based instruction skill acquisition. Class group sizes are kept small to allow for maximum participation. The primary audience for this course are healthcare educators wishing to improve their skills as instructors in simulation education.

Designing or Enhancing Your Simulation Center: Welcome to “Designing or Enhancing Your Simulation Center”. This one day course is designed to assist those individuals or centers who are interested in designing new or updating existing simulation centers. This is an 8 topic course that will guide the participants, step by step, through the process of identifying their training needs and designing a world class simulation center to meet those needs. Topics include:

  • Introduction to WISER and Course Overview
  • Identifying Your Center’s Training Missions
  • Blueprints to Build Out, Designing Your Center
  • Identifying your Center’s Audio and Video Needs
  • Administrative Considerations
  • Job Descriptions
  • Creating Environments
  • Additional Tips for Success

WISER Fellowship Program

The WISER Fellowship Program is available for individuals who are interested in an in-depth learning experience on all aspects of healthcare simulation. Fellowships typically last from one year to 18 months. The fellowship is a self-directed immersive journey into the world of healthcare simulation. Focuses for this fellowship program often include research, curriculum development, operations, or a combination of topics. All fellows will complete a curriculum (or project) based upon their specific needs that will support their focus.

How to Run a Successful Simulation Center: Participants of this two day program will learn best practices associated with the operations of a simulation center. Key operational, administrative, and technological elements of a successful simulation center will be reviewed. Topics such as creating budgets, staff considerations, daily operations, course development, and simulator programming will be discussed. Interactive exercises will allow participants to practice what they learned during course sessions.

TechSim: A variety of topics will be covered that are designed to educate simulation technicians / operations personnel on the key tasks associated with the daily operations and maintenance of a simulation center. The content topics were mapped to the SSH CHSOS Examination Blueprint. Topics include:

  • Simulation Center Technology
  • Scenario Creation
  • Repair and Maintenance Considerations
  • Running Sim Sessions and much more.

Visit the WISER Courses page to learn more!

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Dr. Paul Phrampus Opens Inaugural Pan Asia Simulation Society in Healthcare Meeting in Malaysia

passh asia simulation in healthcare

Today just north of Kuala Lumpur at Taylor’s University, the inaugural Pan Asia Simulation Society in Healthcare (PASSH) meeting opened with keynote speaker Dr. Paul Phrampus, past president for the Society in Simulation in Healthcare and Director of the WISER Simulation Center.

Paul provided the audience a break down of the ways simulation can be utilized in healthcare programs for both educational and hospital settings. His direct experience with developing simulation programs around the world lead to insightful realities for simulation professionals who have traveled from across Asia to participate in the 1st conference. Paul explained to the audience of the challenges simulation champions:

  • Creating value-based solutions
  • People (ie Bosses) underestimate the effort for any quality education effort.
  • Time and money will always be a great pain point

Dr. Phrampus reminded us that by enabling passionate people and focusing their energies in new simulation programs which solve the greatest pain points for their larger institution

Paul reminded us as he closed his talk that “We need to remain Education focused in our approaches, not simulation focused, to create value in order to solve peoples problems with systemic solutions”.

passh asian healthcare simulation society

Following this, Dr. Ben Berg, Professor of Medicine and Director of Simulation at the John Burns School of Medicine in Hawaii spoke on International Collaboration. Ben suggested that collaboration between countries starts with regional organizations like PASSH, and other international organizations like the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Dr. Berg reminded the audience that research such as a recent study on cultural differences in healthcare simulation debriefing across the world continue to further demonstrate collaboration between international entities. He then shared the collaborative efforts between Sim Tiki in Hawaii and the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, which began through center tours and expanded into ongoing training course relationships. “Critical to consider,” Ben suggested, “is that just translating simulation curriculum and program guides won’t provide a successful migration of course content.

Because of this powerful collaborative relationship, “FunSimJ” (Fundamental Simulation Instructional Methods for Japanese), has become one of the leading simulation programs in all of Japan. Post Course Simulation survey simulation implementation barriers were similar to those in the states “number of trained simulation faculty, time for faculty development, time for teaching, etc”. Faculty development programs for Japanese educators at Sim Tiki have also been created which helps bring revenue to the Hawaiian based center.

The event continues for the next two days and includes a vendor hall Platinum Sponsored by Laerdal and Silver Sponsored by CAE Healthcare.

Learn more at the PASSH website!

Catch Up: Summer’s Most Read Medical Simulation Articles

top medical simulation articles

Were you out of the office this summer or looking to recap the our most read medical simulation articles? Check out these highly shared posts:

  • Great Interview Questions When Hiring a Sim Tech – Are you hiring a Simulation Technician or other individual who will be responsible for the operation of your labs? Read this article first to learn how to find a great addition to your simulation team!
  • WISER Nursing Symposium Video Coverage – Back in June The 6th Annual WISER Nursing Simulation Symposium took place at the Pittsburgh Hilton and at the WISER center located next door. Learn more about WISER, this event and Dr. Paul Phrampus – President for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
  • 70 FREE Medical Simulation Videos – HealthySimulation.com has produced more than 70 clinical simulation videos which have been watched over 26,000 times by the international healthcare education community. Check out some highlights here!
  • How to Evaluate Effectiveness of Simulation – Learn about the Japanese philosophy of “Kaizen”, which means “never-ending improvement”, a passion for making things better, the drive for perfection – and how this can help you better develop your medical simulation program.
  • Best Practices For Medical Simulation Hiring – “The goal with hiring for your simulation-based positions is to not necessarily find candidates with the most simulation experience, nor even the most medical experience, but rather the person who has demonstrated the most passion for the position.”
  • Blood Pressure Simulator “BPsim” From KBPort – What I really liked about this device was how realistic the blood pressure cuff was, how detailed you could get with the settings, and how it will work on manikins, IV Arm task trainers AND humans!
  • Award-winning Sim Tech “DIY” Projects Videos – B-Line Medical Supports Sim Tech Innovation With $1000 in Prizes at SimGHOSTS 2013! Watch these videos to see how to build your own EHR system, re-purpose ATLS training skins, and increase fidelity on more basic manikins!

Finally, check out our Top 10 Medical Simulation Articles from Spring – Our previous 2013 recap article with even more great content!

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Interviews With WISER Director, Dr. Paul Phrampus Part 1

wiser at umpc

While attending WISER’s 6th Annual Nursing Simulation Symposium I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Paul Phrampus, WISER Director and SSH President. I had such a great conversation with Paul that I will be sharing my video interview segment by segment here over the next couple of weeks. UPMC and WISER have a great historical connection with medical simulation and you can learn all about that, and the coverage of their recent Nursing Symposium, by watching and reading my previous event coverage. For today, watch the video below to learn more about Dr. Phrampus, how he got started in simulation, Pittsburgh’s modern transformation and UPMC.

Interview Transcript

upmc wiser director

Meet Paul

Hi, Paul Phrampas here (pictured above right). I am the Director of the Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research here also known as WISER. I’m an Associate Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Patient Safety and Quality in the Department of Emergency Medicine. (Editors Note: Paul is also the current President of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare).

Lance: Tell us how you got to Pittsburgh?

Paul: So, I arrived in Pittsburgh in 1996 as a visiting medical student. I wanted to see what It would be like to be an emergency medicine resident here in Pittsburgh. In the month that I spent here I fell in love with the city and the training / university programs and the availability. I selected to come here for my residency and I was happy to actually match here and did my emergency medical training from 1997 to 2000 at the University of Pitt. And during residency I was lucky enough, actually serendipitously, to be put in touch with the simulation efforts and was able to start working in simulation in 1997, while I was completing my residency. One of my first projects was helping to create some competency courses for the city of Pittsburgh paramedics.

Lance: This is my first time in Pittsburgh and I am in awe – not only by how many bridges are here – but how beautiful this city really is!

Paul: Pittsburgh as a city is surprising, I’ve lived in for the last 15 years and I have to say 15 years ago when I arrived here I was shocked. My childhood memories of Pittsburgh, and I think how a lot of people still imagine Pittsburgh, is as the steel mill town, a blue collar town, where the factories are churning out smoke day in day out and the street lights stay on 24 hours a day because of the smog. I was expecting to have my car parked on the sidewalk and get dust from the coal mines on it in two hours time, and I was delighted to see when I came out of the tunnel for the first time into the area, a hustling bustling clean city that’s vibrant. The steel mills are gone and the industries that are creating a thriving Pittsburgh today (after a long economic revitalization) are healthcare, education, and banking. So its been a great seed for recruitment of healthcare providers, and people who are involved in technology in the city of Pittsburgh. There are also a great number of universities here. Of course, the two of which are world famous are the University of Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Melon University. Carnegie Melon is famous for computer engineering and robotics engineering in addition to a number of their other programs. The engineering aspects of these groups combined with the University of Pittsburgh engineering programs has been a delight for many collaborative projects in innovative projects for teaching education research and simulation itself. Pittsburgh is a great place to live and a great place to train. We have world class medical training facilities and training programs that engage people all throughout the entire region.

Lance: Tell me more about UPMC and some of the reasons it was just ranked #10 Nationally by US News?

Paul: UPMC, or the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been formed over the last 20 years. It was a consolidation of a couple academic medical centers, and then the response to the changing market place. In terms of healthcare and the ability to thrive through consolidation, the opportunity was identified by our CEO many many years ago before people were even thinking about these concepts. Over the last 20 – 23 years UPMC has been able to create a fully integrated healthcare delivery network. We have our own insurance program with a couple of million lives insured and we currently have 19 hospitals and clinics, most of which are located throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. But, we also have healthcare facilities and hospitals in Ireland, in Palermo Italy, and are working in Asia with several different service lines of care delivery.

upmc ranked 10

Here in Pittsburgh the UPMC has 13 different hospitals with common services where simulation comes into play. We have a chief quality officer that over sees a lot of the quality patient safety efforts in a lot of those hospitals, so from a system level we are able to raise the bar on quality. We are able to find unique and innovative ways to implement simulation or other innovative educational programs to ensure that we are providing the highest quality care at the most economical prices in the south western Pennsylvania area. We are really quite big, and were recently ranked number 10 nationally by US News and World Report Honor Roll. A number of our programs are in the top three to five as far as training programs go, as we are a world class health institution with regard to transplant surgery. You may know that the first liver transplants were developed here and we are one of the busiest transplant centers in the country. People literally come from all over the world to not only get clinical care here but also to receive training at one of our many facilities.

To learn more about Paul and the WISER Center, visit http://www.wiser.pitt.edu !

WISER Nursing Symposium Video Coverage


The 6th Annual WISER Nursing Simulation Symposium took place earlier this month both at the Pittsburgh Hilton and at the WISER center located next door. Watch the event coverage or read the complete article below:

Before getting deeper into the event though, I wanted to share more about UPMC’s historical connection to the modern-day medical simulation industry, which I learned from WISER Director and IMSH President Dr. Paul Phrampus:

paul phrampus

“So in 1994 anesthesiologists approached the chairmen of anesthesiology in response to a number of reports in the medial literature about the safety of operating rooms and anesthesia being delivered. The chairman at the time believed whole heartedly in simulation as a patient safety mechanism he committed a large sum of the departments money to make an initial investment in simulation. I’ve understood that number to be about $250,000 which in 1994 dollars was a significant investment.

I’ve also understood that a number of other colleagues thought he was crazy to invest that level of finance in the new technology. However, the Simulation efforts then began to blossom and there was recruitment of other areas that had patient safety initiatives going on, which where there looking for improvements in areas of quality in patient safety. This lead to the broadening of the scope of the simulation program at the University of Pittsburg. There were a number of senior leaders who had the fore thought to invest in simulation while a lot of people think of simulation as normal part of healthcare… in 1994 this was pretty much unthought-of.

The academic efforts lead to safer care of the delivery of anesthetics in the operating room, and then there were a number of medical student programs and a number of nursing school programs that started to use simulation. Many people started to recognize the power of simulation, but one of the prevailing barriers at the time was that the only simulator practical and available for this area of training was significantly expensive, and that remained a barrier for quite some time.

The founding director of WISER Doctor John Schaefer was the anesthesiologist who approached the chairman at that time, and was trained in undergrad as an engineer and became an anesthesiologist. He literally in his garage set out to design a lower cost solution for many of the components that have evolved into common simulators today. Initially he developed the initial airway control and mechanisms that allowed difficult airway training that were eventually adopted by MPL (Medical Plastics Lab). Eventually that intellectual property were transferred to Laerdal and became the airway mechanisms in the SimMan and as you may know, SimMan is one of the most widely used simulator platforms in the world.”

I then spoke with Nursing Professor and WISER Associate Director John M. O’Donnell CRNA, MSN, DrPH to learn about the collaborative institutions involved with WISER and the objectives of the nursing conference event. John reminded us:

“Six years ago, Paul Phrampus and I collaborated together and came up with the idea that we should have a multi-professional simulation course that focused mostly on nursing issues but open to anyone who wanted to come, and hold it as an international meeting which been running successfully ever since. The University of Pittsburgh (Academic) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Health System), which are two separate entities, together help us found and support WISER, which is the Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research. As we move forward working with our 9,000 nurses in our health system and our schools of nursing we have developed a group of supporters which has allowed us to hold this conference.

Our theme of this meeting is Bridges, and so we wanted to think of bridges between the didactic space and the clinical space and so we heard a variety of speakers, the first of which was Dr. Paul Phrampus, who is the President of Society for Simulation in Healthcare – and he gave a vision for where Simulation is and where its going.”

Dr. Phrampus’ presentation covered many topics, but what I found really unique was his suggestion that simulation can and should be explored for learner assessment and/or performance reviews.  Utilizing research examples which demonstrated an increase in learner outcomes and retention due to post-simulation exams, Paul made a really strong case for this shift in thinking towards simulation – which is demonstrated in the video above. He also showed how simulation can be used to exam individual moments of healthcare frame-by-frame, like taking a photograph of water droplets which occur too quickly for the human eye.  With this concept, Paul argued, we can tweak healthcare into perfection by identifying and slightly modifying all the possible variables which will ultimately lead to greater patient outcomes.

dr. paul phrampus

Afterwords I sat in on an amazing presentation about using simulation to test-run patient movement for a hospital relocation by Melinda Hamilton MD which I will summarize in a future article!

Next, we heard from Suzie Kardong-Edgren PhD RN Editor of the Clinical Simulation in Nursing Journal about bridging simulation research to publication, where she recommended these topics of interest those looking to get published:

  1. New uses of clinical simulation
  2. Use of simulation to teach…?
  3. Well executed research articles
  4. Higher level evaluation pieces
  5. New and novel items

After the morning sessions attendees shuffled to the WISER center located next door to engage in some really helpful simulation workshops. Jennifer Manos MSN provided an introduction to pediatric simulation orientation while next door, admin gurus Dan Battista MBA and Tomas Dongilli helped managers learn how to put together sim lab policies and procedures. They reminded us to collect documentation from our overarching institutions first which may provide both a format and already cover some key topic areas like dress code.

Jeffrey Groom PhD CRNA shared his successful medical student program which asked senior students to design and facilitate simulation scenarios for junior students – which helped retention and learning outcomes by providing learners the opportunity to show their knowledge by teaching others. Back at the hotel, Dr. Benjamin Berg conducted a breakout session about curriculum development and integration. Lastly, John and Paul provided how to reinforce student’s learning through structured and supported debriefing techniques.

pitt engineering body explorer

Nearby, University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering Biomedical Graduate Student Doug Nelson showcased the Simulation and Medical Technology Research and Development Center’s Body Explorer System. Using a projector and wii remote pen-system, Doug was able to draw over the body of a manikin and cut through various layers of animated skin! Watch the video coverage above to see it working beautifully in action!

Finally, to hear a Nurses perspective on the event, I asked a random attendee her thoughts on the meeting. Ruth Henderson RN MSN from Charleston Southern University suggested she “learned a great deal” and “would recommend this WISER Symposium for anyone interested in simulation, especially nurses”. And I wholeheartedly agree as this event really showcased some great advances in simulation!

To learn more about WISER and their Nursing Simulation Symposium or other globally-held simulation events, check out their website at http://www.wiser.pitt.edu. Oh, and be sure to stop by the UPMC Blog!

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6th Annual WISER Symposium on Nursing Simulation June 6th-7th

wiser nursing symposium

Early next month the University of Pittsburgh’s WISER center will be hosting their 6th annual meeting to support simulation in nursing. Registrations for this June event are still available at $400 per person here.

The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER) of the University of Pittsburgh, allied with the UPMC Health System, is dedicated to healthcare education and educational research. The Institute features advanced instructional technologies and methods to develop innovative healthcare education programs that are ultimately targeted towards improving the public welfare and safety

wiser nursing conference

Dr. Paul Phrampus, current President of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and Director of WISER will be providing this year’s keynote address.  Paul let me know that this year the meeting will provide a blend of didactic learning at the hotel and more interactive based sessions across the street at the WISER center itself.  I am also happy to report that WISER has invited HealthySimulation.com out to cover the event with video, so stay tuned!

Remember, there is still time to Register so learn more about the event at the WISER Nursing Symposium website.

Simulation-based Learning Highlights include:

  • Best practices
  • Leadership skills
  • Assessment methods
  • Program development
  • Interactive workshops
  • Debriefing methods and practices
  • Practical pointers and demonstrations
  • Use of supplemental educational technology
  • Internationally recognized simulation experts
  • Overcoming problems and pitfalls in building your simulation program
  • Developing competencies through simulation
  • Networking opportunities

*10.75 CNE contact hours will be awarded to individuals that complete this 1.5 day symposium.*


Thursday, June 6th

  • Building the Simulation Bridge: Past, Present & Future
  • Simulation-The Bridge to Patient Safety
  • Crossing the Bridge from Simulation to Publishing
  • Breakout sessions (Select 3 choices. Participant will be added to their top two choices. Third choices is a back-up. Sessions will be filled on a first come first serve bases.):
    • Creating Simulation Policies & Procedures
    • Building Simulation Projects & Papers
    • Obstetrics and Pediatric Simulation
    • Structured and Supported Debriefing: How to Reinforce Your Students Learning
    • Curriculum Development & Integration

Friday, June 7th

  • Climbing the Bridge to the Top Ten Simulation Articles
  • Simulation on the Cheap: Making the Most of Your Resources
  • Becoming a Certified Simulation Instructor
  • Assessment in Simulation: Making it Fun
  • Question and Answer Town Hall Meeting

Learn more about the event at the WISER Nursing Symposium website.

WISER Video Explains Benefits to Scheduling Simulation

Jennifer Sinclair from the WISER Simulation Center has put together this new video explaining the benefits of scheduling at a medical simulation facility.  Jennifer explains that scheduling:

  1. Efficiently manages daily operations of a medical simulation program.
  2. Reduces double booking of rooms or equipment.
  3. Helps report utilization & statistics of the facility.
  4. Coordinates sometimes chaotic staff schedules.
Watch the video below to learn more tips from Jennifer & WISER:

The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER) is a world class multidisciplinary training and research facility. WISER is an institute of the University of Pittsburgh with a mission to conduct research and training programs utilizing simulation based education to provide a safer environment for patients of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and its affiliates.

Visit the WISER website to learn about scheduling course or other medical simulation based training courses.