The Katz Family Healthcare Simulation Center at Kirkwood Community College manages to fit the full functions of a large-scale medical clinic into a 10,000-square-foot facility. It opened in the fall of 2009, allowing health care students to receive hands-on experience in crisis situations in the $3.6 million emergency medicine center.
Used primarily for nursing and emergency medical technician training, the facility boasts simulation capabilities including surgery, an intensive care ward, exam rooms of various scales and focuses, recovery rooms, ambulance delivery, and even patient in-home care. The in-home care simulation is so realistic it even includes a simulated dog.
As a learning tool the facility goes beyond having simulation dummies of all ages and sizes by including a full private observation facility and complete video, audio, and data monitoring and playback. Not only do staff and students observe each other, but are able to observe themselves in post-simulation evaluations. The lab is also continuously “live” allowing operators to change simulations, introducing new variables, or intentionally set two groups on a “collision” course to test their response to changing conditions.
One of the primary goals of the project was to provide a learning lab for both Kirkwood students and the local medical community. The exterior elements of the project, including ambulance drop-off and outdoor EMT training, were as important a consideration in the design as the interior elements. The center is so sophisticated that experienced local doctors, nurses, and EMTs use the facility for advanced continuing education coursework.