SEPTEMBER 2, 2016, Portsmouth, Va. (NNS) – The Healthcare Simulation and Bioskills Training Center (HSBTC) at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) celebrated their 10th anniversary Aug. 31 with an open house that offered visitors the opportunity to watch demonstrations of the simulation equipment, as well as try out many of the trainers themselves.
The HSBTC provides state-of-the-art, simulation-based medical training to members of the Armed Forces and the local community.
The center provides training programs for each of the 14 graduate medical education programs at NMCP. The center also provides training to sustain skills, improve safety and improve the functionality of teams in all medical disciplines and specialties.
“We are so honored today to celebrate 10 years and so proud of what we have achieved during this time,” said Cmdr. Michael Spooner, medical director of the center. “This is a big moment, and if you talk to someone in the Simulation Center, you understand how, with a little creativity, you can put together what it takes to enhance the training of people in nursing, in medicine and throughout health care.”
Simulation offers the learner, regardless of their skill level, an opportunity to get hands-on experience for a specific patient complaint.
“There’s a lot of benefit for them to train in a safe environment and get the extra practice,” Cmdr. Joy Greer, deputy medical director of the HSBTC. “We can identify potential safety threats and improve the quality care our patients are getting. Our residents really enjoy hands-on learning, and routinely comment that their time spent here is value added.”
Since it opened in 2006, the center has trained more than 20,000 Department of Defense and civilian healthcare professionals. They now have more than 50 different simulators. This includes task trainers, low- and high-fidelity mannequins, cut suits and the latest in 3D virtual simulation.
According to Ret. Capt. James Ritchie, the first medical director of the Sim Center, the idea behind the center was to expand the experiential learning of the trainee. Ritchie reflected on the launch of the center while he attended the celebration.
“The idea is to train medical personnel in handling potentially difficult and highly complex situations,” Ritchie said. “We started off with some basic mannequins and since then, the equipment gradually accumulated as we were able to access funds and request grants. We also had a gradual accumulation of the different disciplines and the surgical trainers. The SimMan 3G became our core mannequin, and then we acquired the human patient simulator and the combat simulators with the trauma effects.”
The mannequin-based education that originated with Ritchie in the emergency room grew over the years, and by the time he turned over the reins of the center to Spooner in 2013, the center had been transformed to an entire wing encompassing thousands of square feet. The center now occupies more than 5,700 square feet and includes a Bioskills Training Center that opened in 2015.
2013 also marked a turning point for the vision of the center that started with a simulation symposium.
“The symposium for all Navy sites really plugged us into the thought leaders in simulation and helped us set the vision for where we needed to go,” Spooner said. “We set out to become an accredited site and that included bringing our nurses on board.
In 2015, the center was accredited by the American College of Surgeons. We also recognized the need to base our training on objectives and testing afterward. The training is much more planned and reproducible to maximize our impact and measure that impact.”
The center offers training remotely on ships and in the field. Most recently, they were on board USS Bataan and USS Iwo Jima and continue to serve their fleet colleagues in operational training.
“One of the biggest benefits is the team training, where we can take a medical team or combat team who is skilled in their area of expertise, but have never worked together before,” Greer said. “We use simulation to bring them together as a team and it’s amazing to see.”
Since 2013, the staff expanded from eight to 18, including two nurses who focus on curriculum development which allows the center to target specific training needs.
“Looking back, I have to say, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved,” Spooner said. “I have a vision, and my team executes that vision. Our success is because of our insightful people on our staff who are constantly pushing us forward. The beautiful thing is that they are always coming up with ideas and pushing me to think further ahead.”