Indiana State University Newsroom

New simulation center is joint venture with Union Hospital, Ivy Tech

January 24, 2011

Partners in the Rural Health Innovation Collaborative are developing a simulation center for the inter-professional education of students and health care providers.

Leaders from Indiana State University, Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley and Union Hospital are creating an environment in which students from their campuses learn to work together to care for patients using real-life scenarios and life-like electronic "patients" that mimic actual human conditions. Medical students from Indiana University School of Medicine, local secondary school students and hospital staff also will have access to the center.

The simulation center will enable the partners to consolidate resources, including programmable electronic mannequins. The center is housed in the former intensive care unit in Union Hospital's West Building.

"In addition to providing a safe environment for students to learn, the center provides a place for students from various disciplines who will one day work together in the health care workplace to work together in the learning environment," said Biff Williams, dean of Indiana State's College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services.

"Typically, for example, nursing students don't learn alongside respiratory therapy students. The Simulation Center will let them learn in teams just as they will work in teams."

Julie Will, dean of the School of Health Science at Ivy Tech, said, "As a former patient care area, the location is ready made to recreate scenarios for students and others to learn."

Simulations allow students to learn the art and science of patient interaction, decision making and clinical care skills using scenarios that occur in the real world.

Simulations can use human actors or health care providers with health issues or symptoms, electronic devices representing specific parts of the anatomy, or sophisticated full-sized mannequins of the male and female adult, a child or infant. The mannequins can be programmed to take on a number of symptoms, conditions and complications and respond to interventions that students perform.

The simulation center is home to an adult male mannequin named Stan, an adult female mannequin named Noelle who is also capable of simulating giving birth, and a baby named Hal. Additional purchases of simulation equipment are planned for early 2011.

A $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration is funding technology to link the equipment. The grant was awarded to the hospital's Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health on behalf of the collaborative.

Contacts: Lorrie Heber, Union Hospital, 812-237-7657 or; Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or; Becky Miller, executive director of resource development/marketing and communications, Ivy Tech-Wabash Valley, 812-298-2361 or