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New Simulation Center Will Set Rush Apart

Simulation training saves lives. As students and health care providers learn to refine their communication, master new techniques, improve procedures and streamline emergency response, this training greatly enhances patient safety. And a planned new Rush Center for Clinical Skills and Simulation will allow Rush to offer even more of this critical instruction.

With the 2003 opening of the Rush University Simulation Laboratory, Rush was an early leader in simulation training. Now Rush’s new 15,000-square-foot simulation center, scheduled for completion in 2015, will increase access to high-quality clinical training — more than tripling the number of people who can be trained at any one time.

Seven new training environments will simulate real-world patient care settings where students from across programs of study and multidisciplinary teams of caregivers — including physicians, nurses, physician assistants and other allied health professionals — can train together. Training sessions will be digitally recorded and projected to an adjoining classroom for others to view, and later participants can review and analyze their performances through a structured debriefing process.

In addition to practice with patient simulators, or “manikins” who display lifelike responses to treatment and external stimuli, the new center will incorporate a wet laboratory, where trainees can practice skills like central line insertions or surgical stitches using cadaveric body parts. Another program will allow students and staff to work with live actors posing as patients and family members, strengthening diagnostic and communication skills.

According to the center’s Co-director Michelle Sergel, MD, the range of training opportunities will set Rush’s center apart from other those at institutions.

“Most simulation labs focus on either training students or training practicing clinicians — our center will do both,” Sergel said. “Our capacity for emergency response simulations will be an asset for the U.S. military and civilians alike. And this new center can accommodate a mandatory onboarding program for all new residents and students, determining proficiency and skills prior to working in the hospital. No other hospital in the nation has that.”

Rush depends on philanthropic support to make this vision a reality. In addition to early gifts from the Golden Lamp Society and the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Nurses Alumni Association, The Sheba Foundation has generously supported the center with a $1 million gift and a $1 million challenge grant. 

For more information about contributing, contact Mari Philipsborn, director of development, at (312) 942-6567 or

Read more about how your contributions can support the Rush University Simulation Center.

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