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VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System


VAAAHS Celebrates New Simulation Center

VAAAHS Simulation Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Honor Americas Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being

By Pamela Weber, MS, RN, Associate Chief Nurse of Education, Director of Simulation Center
Friday, March 18, 2016

ANN ARBOR - The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (VAAAHS), a leader in innovation and technology, opened its new Simulation Center on the 9th floor of the Liberty Building in the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center. The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and Open House was held February 19th, 2016, to highlight the comprehensive new training space, and to collaborate with community partners and university affiliates.

The event brought together academic leaders from both the state of Michigan and Ohio, congressional support, Veteran leadership, and national support from the Veterans Health Administration Simulation Learning Education and Research Network (VHA-SimLEARN); over a dozen clinicians were on hand to provide demonstrations on a wide variety of low and high fidelity simulators.

VHA-SimLEARN is a national program dedicated to strengthening simulation across VHA and serves as a respected resource to help spring-board new programs at VHA facilities across the nation. The purpose of the Simulation Center is to provide a safe learning environment for practical and interactive training experiences that impact measurable objectives, while promoting teamwork, confidence, and competence to enhance the quality of patient care for our nation’s Veterans. Simulation promotes engaged, active learning and allows deliberate practice in a safe and controlled environment.

Clinical simulation training enriches education and allows health care providers to practice and refine their skills without any detriment to the patient.  The VAAAHS executive leadership team has been committed to the success of this program.

“Simulation allows all learners, from novice to expert, the opportunity to practice individual skills and participate in scenarios that rely on teamwork to provide outstanding care to Veterans,” said Stacey Breedveld, MSN, RN, and Associate Director for Patient Care Services. “A simulated learning environment is a safe place for learners to make mistakes and learn from them without the risk of patient harm.”

Ann Arbor’s Simulation Center is a 3,870 square foot multidisciplinary learning site that is comprised of a full array of advanced simulation education capabilities. The space includes a high fidelity simulation training room, three low-fidelity training rooms, an audio-visual control room, and a debriefing room. With the goal of mirroring an authentic practice environment, the high fidelity room was designed identical to a room on our 6-South Telemetry unit, to the last detail.

United States Navy Veteran, Lt. Dale Steward, MBA, BSN, RN, completed a yearlong residency in the VAAAHS Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program, and is currently working as a Registered Nurse on the 5 East Surgery Unit. Steward was the honorary guest speaker at the opening ceremony where he gave a moving speech on service to the country, his fellow Veterans, and the opportunity to spend time training in the simulation center to improve his own nursing practice.

“The simulation center will help equip medical personnel to provide superior care to the Veterans we serve,” Steward said.

VAAAHS is highly committed to education and research. The future of the Simulation Center includes a focus on the significance of inter-professional collaboration and team dynamics, using simulation training to increase communication and teamwork. VAAAHS is determined to help shape the future of education and to become a leader in advancing healthcare simulation and training. The simulation center is a visible commitment to the teaching and training of all employees.

“The Ann Arbor Simulation Center is well equipped to provide cutting edge simulation, and the staff obviously put in a lot of effort in creating this new space,” said Lygia Arcaro, PhD, RN, BC, and National Director for Nursing Programs. “They are well positioned to expand their simulation program for the future to include, educational gaming, and simulation research with human factors considerations.  These expansions are designed to contribute to the professional development of the workforce and the continued positive outcomes for the Veteran patient.”  


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