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The Best Simulation Lab for Your Space and Budget

October 11, 2022

Simulation Labs

If experience is the greatest teacher, then simulation labs are the perfect classroom. Leaving behind dusty lecture halls and APA-style papers, simulation labs bridge the gap between learning and doing, classroom and real-world.  

Medical simulation labs help students learn, practice, and perfect important medical procedures, new technologies, and patient care in a low- to no-risk environment. With such an important role in the preparation of tomorrow’s medical professionals, it is vital to plan the perfect simulation lab for your students. In this article Avante Health Solutions experts share how to design a state-of-the-art simulation lab with tips for creating a high-fidelity environment, maximizing your space, and planning for the future of healthcare.  

Reality Check  

The purpose of simulation labs is to provide experiences that mimic real-life scenarios in the healthcare field. Therefore, the greatest simulation labs maintain a high-fidelity environment to common healthcare spaces. High-fidelity labs provide a level of realism which allows students to fully immerse themselves in the medical training tasks at hand. This momentary suspension of disbelief provides opportunities for students to experience and train for scenarios that will likely occur in their future careers but without dire medical consequences.  

High-fidelity simulation labs mimic real healthcare settings as closely as possible. Depending on your budget, you may be able to create a realistic setting that mimics every aspect of a clinical setting from the lighting to the floors. For those working with limited budgets, it is recommended to provide the same beds, crash carts, infusion pumps, patient monitors, and other medical equipment that one would find in a typical healthcare setting. The high-fidelity equipment will allow students to learn the same equipment and tools that they will encounter as medical professionals. This ensures a minimal learning curve once students transition from an educational career to a professional one.  

Maximize Your Space  

When setting up a simulation lab, it can be difficult to appropriate space for every exercise. From phlebotomy to labor and delivery, there will inevitably be more techniques to teach than you have space for. That’s why dividing your space between general and specialized is key. General skills include phlebotomy, scrubbing for surgery, and minimally invasive procedures, among others. Multipurpose space is recommended for general skills as the equipment can be used for multiple exercises, set up into rotating stations, or easily assembled and dismantled to make way for other labs as needed. Contrarily, specialized scenarios such as the ICU or labor and delivery generally require a dedicated space. These high-stakes scenarios require higher fidelity than the less invasive general skills.  

Another way to maximize your space is to assign a support role to every square inch of your lab. For example, simulation labs are often equipped with debriefing rooms for students and teachers to discuss the outcome of exercises. However, these rooms can also be used for consultation, developing appropriate bedside manner, patient registration, and mental health scenarios. Likewise, hallways can be used to practice patient transport, kitchens can be used for nutritional counseling exercises, and bathrooms can be simulated as in-patient room facilities. Every space in the lab can serve a purpose or two.  

Look to the Future 

Flexibility is just as important when planning for the future as it is in planning your multipurpose spaces. As healthcare progresses so will your simulation labs to reflect new technologies, equipment, and procedures. Thus, it is crucial to leave room in your design for labs that may be required in the future. Fortunately, if planned properly, multipurpose and support spaces can accommodate these needs.  

Consult the Experts  

With more than 35 years of experience, Avante Health Solutions has become a reliable and trusted partner for medical simulation planning. Avante offers a team of experts that can help you choose cost-effective, in-stock solutions for new and professionally restored equipment including anesthesia machines, beds, infusion pumps, patient monitors, surgical instruments, surgical lights, surgical tables, and ventilators, among others. Plan today for the future of healthcare.