UAMS Simulation Center Opens to Provide Hands-on Training

By David Robinson

Sydney Speight, M.D., center, with intubation tube, is assisted in the resuscitation of a simulated patient by Perry Dejarnette, respiratory therapist, immediate left, and Amy Niemann, R.N., right. Nicole Mullings, R.N., is far left.

UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D., speaks during the Simulation Center opening ceremony as Mary Cantrell, center director, and Mike Wallace, center manager, look on.

A simulated patient is rushed from an ambulance to the Simulation Center at the conclusion of the opening ceremony for a training demonstration inside.





March 31, 2011 | The state’s only comprehensive adult medical Simulation Center with computerized, life-like manikins for hands-on training of students, faculty and staff opened today at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

The 7,800-square-foot Simulation Center, housed in renovated space formerly occupied by the Emergency Department, cost about $1 million and was paid for with UAMS funds. It has six manikins, including two for labor and delivery, with space for as many as 15 manikins.

“Our students and our medical professionals will benefit greatly from this high-tech and highly interactive learning environment,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “Most of all, this will positively affect the health of our patients and help us bring good news to families.”

The center will serve the entire campus, with the colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Health Related Professions among its biggest users. It also will provide team training to improve interaction among medical professions that may be involved in a single case.

Special “theater” rooms can be converted to trauma rooms, hospital bedrooms, even nontraditional treatment settings such as a cafeteria or other public place. There are dedicated trauma bays for critical injuries and procedure rooms where students may check the manikin’s pulse, perform intravenous therapies (IVs), chest compressions and tracheal intubations.

Each treatment room is joined by a small observation room for instructors and a control room where a physician manipulates the reactions of the manikin during treatment. The manikins are often accompanied by “family members,” actors who add drama to already stressful situations.

The center includes five debriefing rooms, where participants and their instructors watch and analyze video of their performances. One treatment room is designed so that simulations can be interrupted and debriefings performed on the spot.

“It’s simply about learning with the hands,” said Debra H. Fiser, M.D., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine. “As doctors, our hands are where we connect with patients. We have to teach that, and the Simulation Center gives us the most realistic way to practice short of treating a real human being.”

Mary Cantrell, executive director of the Simulation Center, said the primary goal of medical simulation training is improved patient safety. She noted that the military and commercial aviation industry have used simulation training with great success. The chance of dying in an airplane crash in the United States is 1 in 10 million compared to a 1 in 300 risk of dying due to a medical error in a hospital in the United States.

“UAMS’ ultimate goal is patient safety, and the Simulation Center is a testament to that,” Cantrell said.

UAMS also plans to make its simulation training available statewide by using its extensive broadband telemedicine network, which provides high-speed two-way video communication between UAMS and distant hospitals and clinics.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and six institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,836 students and 761 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or