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Canada’s first simulation centre for women’s health opens

November 26, 2014

High-tech learning centre at Lois Hole used to train health providers

Story by Elise Cerny; photo by Shelly Willsey

The first simulation centre dedicated to women’s health is now open at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women in Edmonton.

The Simulation Centre for Health Learning is a teaching and demonstration space where real-life medical and emergency scenarios are reproduced using simulation technology. Medical professionals gain valuable experience through true-to-life medical enactments across a broad spectrum of women’s health issues and events.

The centre will be used by all health care professionals working in women’s health, including physicians, nurses, respiratory technicians and paramedics.

Dr. Venu Jain poses with the obstetrics simulator mannequin in the newly opened Simulation Centre for Health Learning in Edmonton’s Lois Hole Hospital for Women.“In medicine there are some incredibly rare situations that can arise — so rare that doctors may only see them once or twice in their entire career,” says Dr. Venu Jain, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

“With this centre, we can simulate these rare medical cases to ensure we are as prepared as possible when these situations do happen.”

The centre’s advanced technology includes instrumented mannequins called simulators that can mimic the conditions, responses, and variables of the human body and bring realism to the training process. The simulators breathe, blink and have lungs that breathe. Each simulator is equipped with microphones and speakers so instructors and actors can hear what the trainees are saying and respond appropriately.

The centre has seven simulators: two obstetrics, one gynecology, one baby, one premature baby, and one set of twins.

“Because many different kinds of care scenarios can be enacted within the sim centre, health care teams will improve their ability to work together in a highly coordinated, inter-reliant manner — just as they would need to at the bedside or during an actual emergency,” says Dr. Jain.

“The enactments engage the health care professionals who take part in these educational scenarios, creating more meaningful learning opportunities. The centre will allow teams of health care professionals to improve their readiness, build communication and, ultimately, enhance their ability to deliver world-class patient care and safety.”

Working in partnership with the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, a dedicated team of volunteers raised more than $1.2 million to create the centre.

“As the academic home of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women is the training ground for many of the best, and brightest women’s health care professionals, and the Sim Centre will take that teaching to the next level,” says Andrew Otway, President & CEO, Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation.

“In order to build the best women’s hospital in Canada, investing in education and training is essential, and we are so grateful for the vision and generosity of our donors.”