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Health Sciences Simulation Center Gains Elite Accreditation

By Danya Lusk

Students practice on simulation center manikin

The College of Health Sciences Simulation Center at Boise State University has received accreditation in the area of teaching and education. The simulation center is the first in Idaho to receive accreditation and is the first simulation center west of St. Louis, Mo., not affiliated with a major medical institution to become accredited. The accreditation comes from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare’s Council for Accreditation of Healthcare Simulation Programs.

Since the Society for Simulation in Healthcare began its accreditation program in 2010, 33 simulation centers have been accredited worldwide, 31 of those in the United States. Most of the centers are connected to a health system, medical center, hospital, school of medicine or other major medical institution.

Simulation programs must demonstrate compliance with established core and area-specific standards in order to be considered for accreditation. The program must have at least two years of experience in the area in which accreditation is sought. Core standards include mission and governance; organization and management; facilities, technology, simulation modalities and human resources; evaluation and improvement; integrity; security; and work in expanding the field of simulation.

“Accreditation validates all the hard work in establishing a high quality simulation center,” said Becky Bunderson, director of the College of Health Sciences Simulation Center. “It lets the community, faculty and students know that the work in the center is evidence-based and follows standards and best practices, delivering quality educational experiences to students and community partners.”

To achieve accreditation in the area of teaching and education, the College of Health Sciences Simulation Center had to demonstrate that it met the standards for teaching and education. This included the areas of learning activities, qualified educators, curriculum design, learning environment, educational credit, and ongoing curriculum feedback and improvement.

With an accredited simulation center, the College of Health Sciences will be able to further pursue its goal of promoting interprofessional education for Boise State health sciences students. Currently, respiratory care, radiologic sciences and nursing students use the simulation center and practice labs for an interprofessional skills course. An interprofessional disciplinary team approach is used to teach basic patient care skills and interventions to restore and protect health. The college is actively researching additional ways to integrate interprofessional education into all program curriculums.

“Simulation will fundamentally change nursing education, if not health sciences education, as we know it,” said Suzan Kardong-Edgren, Joanna “Jody” DeMeyer Endowed Chair in Nursing and renowned simulation researcher. “Clinicals will be built around a simulation core, then hospital experience for fine tuning.”

Accreditation accrues value to the organization, the industry and the community. Additional benefits follow:

  • Improving healthcare education through the identification of best practices and recognition of practice
  • Improving healthcare simulation through providing standardization and a pool of knowledge of best practices
  • Strengthening patient safety efforts through support of simulation modalities
  • Supporting education and consultation on good practices and benchmarks to improve business operations
  • Encouraging sharing of best practices through education and consultation
  • Providing external validation of individual simulation programs
  • Strengthened organizational, community and learner confidence in the quality of education and services
  • Garnering local support, resources and commitment
  • Fostering a feedback loop between education and practice by participating in a continuous process of improvement
  • Encouraging performance improvement within the simulation program
  • Providing a competitive edge in the community, program offerings and grant funding
  • Providing a customized, intensive process of review grounded in the unique mission and values of the organization
  • Enhancing staff recruitment and development
  • Recognizing expertise in simulation above and beyond domain expertise

While the College of Health Sciences Simulation Center’s primary focus is on using simulation for the benefit of Boise State health sciences students, community agencies can access the facilities for training or attend workshops and events sponsored by the simulation center. Now that the center is accredited, the college hopes to increase the participation of the community with the center.

The simulation center also is active in a growing number of studies with simulation components by Boise State researchers. The Society for Simulation in Healthcare also offers accreditation in the area of research, which the simulation center is considering applying for in the future.