University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Opens Simulation Center

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The UW Health Simulation Center – a state-of-the-art facility where University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics clinicians practice medical procedures on life-like patient manikins – held its grand opening on November 1, 2011.

The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics unveiled a new, cutting-edge simulation center that lets medical students and staff practice their skills in a realistic environment without putting patients at risk.

Designed by Flad Architects, the 6,500-square-foot facility UW Health Simulation Center is located within the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and brings state-of-the-art medical learning to the hospital and university. It includes operating and trauma rooms that are identical to those in the hospital; a skills lab, where students practice procedures such as stitching sutures or performing laparoscopy; and patient rooms where students can build their patient communication skills and develop a patient- and family-centered bedside manner.

The aviation, military and nuclear industries have long used simulation. “Medical schools around the country have joined in during recent years, but few have dedicated centers like UW Health's,” said Dr. Michael Seropian, president of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. “Fields such as anesthesia and laparoscopic surgery have started to require simulated training, so many academic medical centers are planning such centers,” Seropian said.

The UW Simulation Center’s life-like manikins breathe, sweat, blink, bleed, and exhibit symptoms of minor or major injury, as well as mild to life threatening diseases – almost anything clinical staff might see in live patients. Technicians and instructors observing students from behind one-way mirrors can manipulate a manikin by raising its blood pressure, even sending it into cardiac arrest – thus exposing learners to situations they may encounter in a real-life patient situation.

“The manikins enable students and healthcare workers to learn how to put breathing tubes in patients, insert catheters, tie stitches, lift patients out of bed and diagnose problems such as obstructed airways,” said George Keeler, simulation program manager. “Some of the models even breathe in anesthesia gases and respond to drugs.”

"We are seeing rapid growth in this technology," Seropian said. "It's improving the safety and quality of care."

About Flad Architects
Flad Architects ( specializes in the planning and design of innovative facilities for healthcare, higher education, and science and technology clients. With headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, and offices throughout the United States, Flad is a nationally recognized leader in serving the complex needs of knowledge-based organizations.


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Mary Hirsch
Flad Architects
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