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The School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center is one of the support teams to the Office of Medical Education. Our team is here to assist and lead educational and research interventions serving programs ranging from elementary school programs to Continuing Medical Education events for practicing clinicians and every learner in between.



The CSPSC assists with educational activities that include the Translational Education at Carolina (TEC) curriculum started by the School of Medicine in 2014. Activities often support individualized learning with techniques including medical task trainers and Observed Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE). Our team also supports large team based activities to include our “Interprofessional Teamwork and Communication: Keys to Patient Safety” course, the UNC Health Care Ebola preparedness training, and patient safety TeamSTEPPS™ initiative.


Early research publications of simulation activities within the School of Medicine began in 1983. That study utilized standardized patient phone calls to teach telephone communication skills. Communication skills continue to be of particular interest to the CSPSC team. Since that earliest work, the research goals, methods, and tools have all changed but preventing errors in medicine has remained a consistent theme.


CSPSC_floorplanThe CSPSC houses 16 fully functioning patient examination rooms, a monitoring room for viewing student encounters, one 35-person classroom, one 48-person classroom, and two patient simulation labs which house a wide array of simulators and task trainers. With over 45 computers and 47 high-quality cameras, the CSPSC has a state-of-the-art ability to perform student evaluation and data gathering. During testing, two fully-adjustable cameras capture the encounter between student and patient, and questions are answered by both parties on the computers inside and outside of each room. The LearningSpace software coordinates all those functions and packages the data with an easy to use, web-accessible system. Many different setups and encounter styles are possible, giving users a wide range of options in testing.



Task trainers and standardized patients were successfully integrated into the University of North Carolina School of Medicine curriculum in the early 1980s. These initial trainers were utilized primarily for psychomotor and procedural skills in basic and advanced cardiac life support course work. The skills at that time focused primarily on endotracheal intubation, effective ventilation, chest compressions, and peripheral vascular access.

In the fall of 1994, the first high fidelity simulator was purchased by the Department of Anesthesiology. Anesthesiology received a grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Research Foundation for $250,000 begin utilizing simulations in resident training. Over the next year the medical students began learning core principles of acute care with simulation methodologies in their third year anesthesiology rotation. By 1996, the simulator was being used by all the medical students in the School of Medicine and Anesthesiology residents.

In 1998, the School of Nursing worked with Dr. Fried in the Department of Anesthesiology to begin applying simulation learning activities into undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Their application of simulation lead to the development a state-of-the-art facility to house a second high fidelity simulator.

The simulator purchased by the 1994 Burroughs Wellcome Research Foundation grant was the Medical Education Technologies Inc (METI) Human Patient Simulator (HPS) Model B mannequin. METI stopped supporting the HPS Model B in 2004 and the $100,000 needed to upgrade to the HPS Model C was supported by the Executive Associate Dean for Education, Dr. McCartney. She collocated the HPS with other task training simulators from the Department of Surgery and standardized patients program into the newly renovated Burnett-Womack Building.

In 2015, the School of Medicine once again moved the simulation facility in order to update the infrastructure needed to perform high quality simulation education. The renovated third floor of Berryhill Hall was paid for with funding from The UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care.


Posts about simulation activities in the School of Medicine

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