Photo and Video Credit: UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center Campus
On October 13, 2020, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) held a dedication for the Davis Global Center, a 5-level, state-of-the-art simulation facility designed to transform health care education by providing students with opportunities to practice patient care.
Transforming health care education in Nebraska
The Davis Global Center was made possible through a public/private partnership involving federal, state, city, and philanthropic funding. Initially, the Davis Global Center was intended to be a hub-spoke program for Nebraska, providing training to EMS professionals, nurses, and physicians from across the state in Omaha. Additional funds from the federal government extended the program to provide training to health care professionals across the United States and globally.
The Davis Global Center is designed to encompass the total health care system, from home to hospital and back. This allows students to practice safe transitions from one level of care to another. Also, this allows students from different specialties and teams to interact and collaborate during patient care as they would in the real world. Thus, they develop interprofessional and teamwork skills that they will use once they transition into the workforce.
iEXCEL, a transformational model for health care education, training, and research, is housed in the Davis Global Center. In fact, the center’s goal is to achieve the iEXCEL vision: improving human performance and effectiveness in health care.
A team of medical artists, computer programmers, 3D specialists, animators, and web developers collaborated with UNMC medical subject matter experts to create the medical content in iEXCEL. Using a wide range of simulation and visualization technology, iEXCEL promotes hands-on learning, allowing students and professionals to improve their skills and aptitude.
Chancellor of UNMC, Dr. Jeffery P. Gold, says, “The Davis Global Center will be the linchpin for many of the educational and training activities that will take place at UNMC for the next half-century.” He believes that the facility will be a life-changer for the healthcare professionals who train there and for the patients who will receive better care.
How simulation-based training helps students learn
The Davis Global Center provides students and professionals with safe learning spaces. These spaces use advanced simulation and visualization technology, including immersive environments, displays, and a holographic theatre. In these realistic patient environments, high-fidelity simulators stand-in for real patients.
According to Dr. Jason Langenfeld, Assistant Professor at the UNMC Department of Emergency Medicine, “We need to have a safe place to practice and fail and then have the ability to practice again, and that’s something a simulated environment allows.”
High-fidelity simulators are incredibly lifelike and can mimic human anatomy and physiology and respond to medical interventions. Thus, learners can practice clinical skills and protocols and even use real medical devices and other equipment. It would not be practical to practice on real patients repeatedly. Therefore, simulation allows learners to gain competency on simulated patients before they interact with real patients.
Simulation-based training allows learners to go hands-on and gain valuable clinical experiences. Samantha Rogers, the iEXCEL Clinical Simulation Program Supervisor, explains, “the students get to apply what they have learned in the book [on the simulator]. It’s fun to see the lightbulbs go off. They understand why they learned what they’ve learned.”
Simulated training allows educators to be innovative and provide their students with more opportunities to learn and train. From the command center, educators can capture, analyze, and distribute data from each room. Thus, by tracking center usage and training outcomes, they can provide students with real-time feedback. Once they receive feedback and know how to fix the mistake, they can practice routinely to ensure better patient outcomes.
Moreover, health care professionals who are already in the workforce can use simulation training at the Davis Global Center for their ongoing education. Surgeons, for example, use simulation to learn and develop new skills and techniques required during operative care. By practicing in simulated environments, they can improve their proficiency and ensure patients receive safe and effective care.
Providing training and outreach to communities across the U.S.
Statewide and rural training and outreach is an important part of the iEXCEL mission. Therefore, the Davis Global Center has four mobile simulation units distributed across the state called Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM‑NE). SIM-NE provides remote training opportunities like emergency and disaster preparedness exercises to EMS professionals and other first responders across the state.
The Davis Global Center also houses the Global Center for Health Security, a federally funded program specializing in biopreparedness and infectious disease research, education, and care. Within the Global Center for Health Security is the national Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center (TSQC), which has the nation’s only federal quarantine unit and simulated biocontainment units for advanced experiential training.
The TSQC was used in the spring of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the first Americans exposed to COVID-19 were sent to the TSQC for observation. As such, the Davis Global Center serves as a resource for the state and the country.
The key to the Davis Global Center’s success is that it creates a culture where simulation experts and staff support students as they adopt new skills and technology. The innovative training done at the Davis Global Center will transform health care education and help improve patient outcomes.
 “Global Center for Health Security.” University of Nebraska Medical Center, 2020, https://www.unmc.edu/healthsecurity/.