Toward a new paradigm in hospital-based pediatric education: the development of an onsite simulator program

Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2005 Nov;6(6):635-41. doi: 10.1097/


Objective: The low incidence of crises in pediatrics, coupled with logistic issues and restricted work hours for trainees, hinders opportunities for frequent practice of crisis management and teamwork skills. We hypothesized that a dedicated simulator suite contiguous to the intensive care unit (ICU) would enhance the frequency and breadth of critical-incident training for a range of clinicians.

Design: Descriptive study.

Setting: A tertiary-care pediatric teaching hospital.

Measurements and main results: A realistic pediatric simulator suite was constructed 100 feet from the ICU, at a total base cost of $290,000. The simulation room is an exact replica of an ICU bed space, incorporating high-fidelity mannequin simulators. To capture an even wider audience, a portable unit was also created. Leaders from seven departments-critical care, cardiac intensive care, emergency medicine, transport medicine, anesthesia, respiratory care, and general pediatrics-completed instructor training to ensure effective debriefing techniques. Pediatric staff, including 100% of critical care fellows, 86% of nurses, 90% of respiratory therapists, and 74% of pediatric house staff, participated in >1500 learning encounters per year. All individuals were trained during their normal workday in the hospital. Courses in crisis resource management, skills acquisition, annual review, orientation, and trauma management (1,116, 98, 90, 60, and 60 encounters per year, respectively) were all designed by a multidisciplinary committee to ensure goal-directed education to a range of audiences. Annual costs were on par with those at other centers (approximately 44 dollars per trainee encounter).

Conclusions: An onsite and comprehensive simulation program can significantly increase the opportunities for clinicians from multiple disciplines, in the course of their daily routines, to repetitively practice responses to pediatric medical crises. After an initial capital investment, the training appears to be cost-effective. Hospital-based simulator suites may point the way forward as a new paradigm for the effective education of today's busy clinicians.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Education, Continuing / methods*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Pediatrics / education*
  • Personnel, Hospital / education*
  • Program Development
  • Staff Development / methods
  • Teaching / methods*