Logo: Centre for Innovative Education and Simulation in NursingCentre for Innovative Education and Simulation in Nursing


The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing offers an array of interesting learning experiences.  Learning is cumulative, integrative, and multifaceted. The students benefit from traditional didactic lecture style courses, in addition to case based discussion groups, clinical practice in hospital and community environments and skills practice labs facilitated by a nursing instructor. Furthermore, the Centre for Innovative Education and Simulation in Nursing also provides a safe environment for students to apply their knowledge and skills in a simulated setting. The scenarios are all developed in house by the CIESN facilitators in collaboration with the faculty professors and clinical instructors. The centre has developed 30+ bilingual scenarios and role playing scripts, along with documentation templates. Most of the scenarios are built within a Family Centered Care model, therefore consist of roles for family members.

The University of Ottawa’s CIESN consists of 6 independent clinical simulation labs each equipped with 7 beds, patient simulators such as, Leardal’s SimMan, SimBaby, SimNewB and Gaumard’s Noelle. There is also two functional simulation headwalls with oxygen, medical air and vacuum outlets, in addition to one Virtual IV Station and Audio/Video recording units for evaluations and debriefing.

Research has shown that patient safety improves when healthcare personnel can get experience in a variety of health interventions and difficult situations before they arise in a real hospital setting.

Simulation-based learning combines scenarios and technology. The needs of learners are met with no risk to patient. Learners can make mistakes and learn from them without having professors intervene, as they normally would in order not to put patient’s life in danger. Simulation-based learning takes place in a secure environment where healthcare professionals can practice various procedures. By participating in both simple and complex scenarios in a controlled environment, learners acquire experience.

Simulation is a learning tool for all healthcare professionals. Participants not only have to deal with crisis situations but also need to find strategies for working as a team under stressful conditions and in daily activities, develop better communication and -resource management principles. . Using actors and adding scenarios with anxious family members to the mix makes the simulation more realistic.

Task Trainers

Referred to as partial task trainers are designed to replicate a part of a system or process. The learning objectives associated with partial task trainers are often task specific. Examples include intubation mannequins; IV arms; and machines involved in processes, such as surgery, resuscitation, or emergency scenarios. Advantages of these simulators include product sustainability, standardization, portability, and skill specificity.

Computer based (virtual reality)

These virtual-reality scenarios offer an opportunity for the learner to practice skills, including surgical skills, bronchoscopy, and intravenous and central line catheterization via computer-based training. These sophisticated systems are sometimes housed in a partial task trainer to lend greater fidelity to the partial task trainer educational experience. At the Center we are using virtual IV and VP. Center also gave to Francophone student CD-ROM for learning in obstetric. All courses are link to module to help students to prepare to the lab session.

Integrated Simulators

These simulators combine a manikin (usually a whole body) with sophisticated computer controls that can be manipulated to provide various physiological parameter outputs that can be physical (such as a pulse rate or respiratory movements) or electrical (presented as monitor readouts). These parameters may be automatically controlled by a physiological and pharmacological model incorporated within the software or may respond to instructor inventions in response to actions of learners.Simulation with simulators (adult, kid, infant and new-Born) also referred to as complex task trainers are, allow a learner to perceive tactile and other stimuli to the senses through a complex, computer-generated environment.


Role playing involves asking learners to act out an event or situation. Although it is helpful to conduct role playing in a realistic setting, elaborate, mock set-ups or other props are not necessary. Hence the cost of this type of simulation can be relatively low. The objective in creating any simulation experience is achieving fidelity, i.e., a close replication of the real-life, human situation.

Simulated Patients (SP) and Environment

Also known as simulated patients, or actors, these live simulators can be utilized in teaching students to conduct a physical assessment, take a patient history, communicate bad news, practice a psychiatric intervention, and even perform a pelvic or prostate exam. The use of simulated patients has been found to help students gain self-awareness of their communication and clinical strengths and weaknesses, their reactions to stressful situations, and also their biases. The SP may be a professional actor trained to present a history and sometimes to mimic physical signs, or a patient who has received training to present his or her history in a standardised, reliable manner (simulated patient). The recreation of the environment in which the activity is going to take place is common in simulation and clinical skills centres. Within reason, the ability to situate the activity in a realistic environment would be expected to increase the learner’s engagement with the simulation and to enhance the suspension of disbelief.