Medical Simulation On the Move in Central America

University of Costa Rica’s new mobile simulation center is the first of its kind in Latin America

Share this article

By Hannah Wallace

A nursing student practicing IV administration in San Ramón de Alajuela, a teenager learning CPR in Limon, or a hospital outside of San Vito treating victims of an earthquake—wherever there are people, there are medical needs. Now, Latin America’s very first mobile simulation center is set to provide Costa Rican medical professionals, students and communities with state-of-the-art simulation training as well as real-world emergency medical support—wherever and whenever it’s needed.

The School of Nursing at the University of Costa Rica dates back more than 100 years, but its simulation facilities are fully 21st-century.

In December 2017, the school invested $589,000 in the mobile simulation center, which will allow students and health professionals throughout the country “to train in a controlled environment and to help reduce error,” says Seidy Mora, director of the University of Costa Rica’s Simulation Center (CESISA). “For us it is important for patient safety.”

The custom, air-conditioned trailer has been outfitted with state-of-the-art simulation technology for a wide range of medical training programs. Two CAE Healthcare simulator manikins—CAE Apollo and CAE Juno—can facilitate more than 70 standard clinical procedures for students to learn and practice. The manikins can also replicate scenarios ranging from cardiorespiratory arrest to childbirth.

After hands-on simulation experiences, the inside of the mobile center easily converts to a classroom, where CAE’s LearningSpace software allows students to debrief and discuss the what happened during the simulation. Debriefing “is the most important part of clinical simulation,” Mora explains.

LearningSpace also provides the opportunity to hone future training through cumulative data. Mora believes that every simulation project should generate research that improves their educational or methodological approaches. Mora and her team will be able to track a trainees’ performance to see how simulation develops clinical and decision-making skills.

In addition to medical training for professionals and university students, the mobile center will also play a vital role in social action projects to bring CPR and first aid training to communities.

But Mora and her team also took a massive extra step to maximize the good the mobile center can do. In addition to simulation technology, the mobile center is outfitted with extensive medical equipment, making it a fully capable emergency medical center—on wheels. In the event of an emergency like an earthquake or other disaster, the center can go to where it’s needed and provide treatment for victims. It’s even equipped for minor surgeries.

Though this mobile center is the first of its kind, it won’t be the last, Mora says. “I believe that many more will come when people see the benefit for medical students, for emergency situations, and for communities overall.”