Harvard medical simulation course comes to UF

Training led by Harvard Medical School aims to elevate patient care.

By: Styliana Resvanis

An alarm sounds as six health care providers rush into the fourth-floor hospital room and huddle around the bed. One physician shouts instructions for medication dosages while another begins CPR, applying pressure to the patient’s plastic chest.

“What’s the pulse?” someone asks. “Can we find a bed in the ICU?”

All the while, instructors observe the scenario through a one-way glass window that separates the hospital room from the control room. Suddenly, a voice from the loudspeaker announces the end of the simulation and the health care team files out of the room to debrief and discuss the experience.

This high-stress, fast-paced learning scenario occurred as part of a weeklong simulation instructor training course for UF Health faculty at the UF College of Medicine’s new George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building in September. This training, led by Harvard Medical School’s Institute for Medical Simulation, aims to elevate how health care faculty use simulation to enhance education, quality and safety in patient care.

“The course is highly experiential and immersive, allowing health care educators to experience the same challenges and demands they ask of their own learners,” said Jenny W. Rudolph, PhD, senior director of the Harvard institute. “Coaches need coaching, too.”

While many participants opt to travel to Boston for the course, the new Harrell Medical Education Building provided an ideal backdrop thanks to its Lou Oberndorf Experiential Learning Theatre, simulation labs and comprehensive clinical skills assessment center.

“We’re so lucky they could come to our home because it makes it easier to incorporate what we’re learning,” said Maria Velazquez, MD, director of the Anaclerio Learning and Assessment Center in the Harrell Medical Education Building.

medical emergency simulation

UF faculty members came together to participate in a Harvard medical simulation course in September. Photo by Mindy C. Miller

Velazquez was one of 20 participants in the course, which also included a UF Health nurse manager, a UF College of Dentistry faculty member, the director of clinical studies for the UF School of Physician Assistant Studies and UF College of Medicine faculty members who teach using medical simulation.

The training course was funded through a Faculty Enhancement Opportunity, or FEO, grant, a university-sponsored program that supports professional development opportunities for faculty across UF.

“I thought this would be a nice exclamation point on the new building,” said UF anesthesiology, neurosurgery and periodontology professor Nikolaus Gravenstein, MD ’80, who secured the FEO grant for the course. “Now we have not only a better facility, but better educators.”

The FEO grant is administered twice a year by the provost’s office and supported by the colleges.

“We’ve had over 110 faculty over the last eight years receive one of these grants in the College of Medicine,” said David Quillen, MD, chair of the UF College of Medicine’s FEO review committee and an associate professor in the Family Medicine Residency Program.

“With 20 more faculty trained as a simulation instructor, the college is taking advantage of the exceptional technology in the most advanced medical education building in the U.S.,” Quillen said.