New Health Simulation Center Opens

Simulation Family Moves into New Virtual Hospital at FVTC

Sep 6, 2013

When the public voted “yes” for Fox Valley Technical College’s referendum in April of 2012, the passage advanced several key facility projects to meet employer needs, including the 66,000 square-foot, three-story Health Simulation and Technology Center (HSTC) on the college’s Appleton campus. The initiative also enabled 14 human patient simulators to find a permanent home in the new high-tech center, designed to train both career-starters and existing health care professionals in an integrative format.

The HSTC houses simulation technology from “newborn to adult” for changing and emerging technologies in the healthcare environment, addresses the need for more clinical experiences in health care, creates an environment that fosters interdisciplinary healthcare education, and provides increased opportunities for incumbent healthcare workers to enhance and retain their skills.


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The first floor is designed as a virtual hospital, housing an eight-bed ER and hospital setting that provides students with realistic training scenarios utilizing human patient simulators. Included are corresponding debriefing rooms, a control room for each simulator station, an ambulance simulator, and the newest audio-visual technology to improve the simulation experience for FVTC students. In general, training in this environment will replicate clinical experience, increase student critical thinking and confidence, and places an emphasis on patient safety. 

The second floor focuses on training students for employment in a clinic or laboratory setting. It has a replicated six-room outpatient clinic, a reception area, phlebotomy lab, and two computer labs. Students who seek training as medical assistants, phlebotomists, and health information technology technicians will find several simulated training experiences to boost their education.

The third floor features training labs for rehabilitative therapy and home health care. The laboratories include mock home settings such as a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. These areas will assist the students to learn and teach adaptive home strategies to their clients and will also be utilized to replicate emergencies in a home setting using human patient simulators. 

Smart classrooms are located on all floors and feature advanced technology. These classrooms are designed for interactive instruction and will be utilized by multiple programs in the college. Collaborative student spaces have been designed to promote group or individual study. The facility will also support continuing education and customized instruction for health care professionals in the community, which will build skill sets within the existing workforce.

Instructors at the HSTC celebrated the opening of the center by conducting an inaugural emergency response scenario using one of the life-like simulators, underscoring the importance of integrative training. “Our center is designed to be a real-world facility that can train paramedics, nurses, medical assistants, and other emergency response students and professionals in one setting,” says Bob Sternhagen of FVTC’s Health division. “For too long these critical care providers have trained separately, and now their collaboration is building better practices to optimize treatment procedures. These scenarios could mean the difference between life and death or a poor outcome for a patient.”

The HSTC is the first newly constructed facility to be unveiled as part of FVTC’s referendum. The expanded Service Motor Company Agriculture Center also opened on the Appleton campus in concert with the HSTC. The 2,800 square-foot addition features expanded learning labs and a new Horticulture Tissue Lab.


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