Patient Simulator Lab

Patient Simulator Lab

The Van Gerpen Patient Simulator Lab allows students and healthcare professionals to train on state-of-the-art technology.

The cutting-edge Van Gerpen Patient Simulator Lab replicates a broad range of hospital settings from emergency room, intensive care, labor and delivery, exam rooms, and patient scenarios in a controlled environment.

Students in Hawkeye's Health programs use the Patient Simulator Lab for hands-on instruction and learning. They are able to manage patients’ care from start to finish and can learn from their mistakes without consequences—which one cannot afford in the clinical setting with real patients.

Hospital grade equipment is used throughout the Patient Simulator Lab. Students provide care for their simulated patients using real oxygen and medical air, are trained on electronic medical records and the Pyxis system—a medication holding and dispense system that integrates with the simulated electronic records and scenarios. Everything from the beds, patient lifts, IV pumps, code carts, ventilators, defibrillators, automatic blood pressure and oxygen monitors, and EKG (ECG) machine are they same as are used in hospital and clinic settings. When students graduate, they can transition into their new positions with confidence.

Technology Highlights

The Patient Simulator Lab includes realistic full-body manikins or simulators that cover the lifespan to support life-like simulation and equipment used in today’s medical facilities preparing students for a career in healthcare.

Hawkeye has more than 18 simulators that offer a range of abilities and stages of life including birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and all stages of adulthood.

Many of the simulators are controlled behind the scenes by an instructor, computers, and software with more than 250 available scenarios. Hawkeye’s simulators exhibit vital signs, clinical signs, and symptoms. The higher the fidelity of the simulator, the more realistic the effect of the simulation. The higher fidelity simulators can blink, sweat, cry, bleed, and respond appropriately to medication administered. Students can communicate with the simulated patient via hidden microphones and speakers allowing students to ask questions and converse with the patient. Students take cues from the patient to help assess the situation.

Hawkeye Stays Up-to-Date with the Latest Technology and Software to Ensure Quality

Hawkeye was the first in Iowa to fully adopt Docucare, a simulated electronic health record that correlates with the majority of the scenarios we run. This gives students a complete record for their patient, that is also shown in the Pyxis, and allows for bar coding scanning of the patient and medications.

The lab is equipped with cameras and microphones to record audio and video for all events allowing instructors and students to review and debrief a scenario. Students can review what went well and what they could have done differently, taking a step back and learning from successes and failures. This technology also makes it possible to view live feed in multiple rooms. Students that are not directly involved in the scenario are able to observe and take part in the debriefing process as much as those students who completed the hands on portion of the scenario.

Students learn to hear multiple heart rhythms and lung sounds using a torso simulator with enhanced technologies and their own stethoscope. In addition, a special stethoscope, the Ventriloscope, can simulate breathing and breath sounds and heart sounds with a touch of a button. The Ventriloscope can be used on a real person or a simulator. The torso with enhanced technologies and the Ventriloscope simulators can also be used in the class setting and played on speakers for everyone to hear.

Real-Life Experiences

Training through simulation helps prepare students to enter the healthcare field with skill and confidence.

The simulation lab attempts to recreate as many realistic features as possible such as being able to “call the physician,” find supplies in a clean utility storage room, proper hand hygiene, paper charts, and charting in real time. In addition to responding to their patient’s condition and performing the necessary skills for the scenario, simulations also include opportunities for students to utilize therapeutic communication, foster patient safety, make decisions using critical thinking skills, as well as many additional skills everyone in the health field must be able to do.

Simulations are played out as life-like as possible. Sometimes the scenario is so real, students may begin to feel an emotional attachment to the simulated patient. The benefit of the simulation lab, is that if a mistake is made and we lose the patient, it's just a matter of hitting reset and we can start and do it again.

Community Need

The Patient Simulator Lab will help meet the demands of a career field that is expected to see a growth of 26 percent in the next 10 years. Employment growth will be driven by the increased demand for healthcare services as our population ages and with new medical advancements and treatments.

Contact Information

Simulation Coordinator

Tina Pollock
Tama Hall 125A
Email Tina Pollock

Administrative Assistant

Vickie Bogart
Tama Hall 110
Email Vickie Bogart


Science and Health Sciences

Troy Moran, Ed. D
Tama Hall 110B
Email Troy Moran

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