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From concept to reality:

The development of an interdisciplinary simulation centre as a shared educational resource

Sharla King, Shirley Roozen, Pam Rock Health Sciences Education and Research Commons, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


In 2004, the University of Alberta announced plans to build a health science complex (funded by the Provincial Government). Included in this space would be an 18,000 sq.ft. simulation centre with access for all health science faculties. The building would focus on health partnerships, interdisciplinary scholarship, student, staff and patient wellness and state of the art technology.


The Health Science Education and Research Commons (HSERC) would be a shared educational resource for the 8 health science faculties. HSERC is focused on developing, implementing and evaluating teambased educational experiences in a variety of learning environments, including simulation. Goal is to ensure graduates are interprofessional team-ready for professional practice. The development of the new simulation space and academic programming presented three major challenges:



1. Designing space for simulation programming that did not exist In the pre-licensure programs, simulation, particularly mannequin-based simulation was not commonly used.

Key concept was flexibility. Created space that accommodates the future of health science education, not just what is done currently.

2. Thinking beyond current interprofessional education and research opportunities. Some IPE existed, however the goal was to develop more integrated programming for IP team-based education.

Academic Leads identified for each area through an Expression of Interest process. Responsible for working with HSERC to develop opportunities for IP education, interdisciplinary research and partnerships with industry

3. Funding model. HSERC’s existing operating budget was not large enough to support and sustain a new simulation centre, therefore a new model was required. New physical space also required new human resources to adequately operate the facility.

After extensive consultations with the Health Science Deans, engaged the support of an organization that helps commercialize new ideas and brings the innovations of university scientists to market to explore different funding models. An agreement in principle was made to develop a company within HSERC that would seek external business to generate revenue to support the operating costs of running the facility without relying on financial support from the faculties.

The Reality


• Soft opening August 2011 • On-going process to set up physical space (simulation equipment and AV/ IT system) when lack human resources and expertise. • Academic programming with mannequin-based simulation and IP education integrated into pre-licensure education slowly growing. Six key areas were designed: • critical care suite/universal patient room PHASE 5 • bariatric suite • smart condo (functioning one bedroom ‘condo’ designed for integration of smart home technology), • clinical consultation rooms, multipurpose lab • immersive environment. 34

Concept to Reality: Developing a Shared Educational Resource  

Describes the process, successes, and challenges of conceptualizing and designing a simulation lab focused on IP education.

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