To learn how to react in a medical situation, there is no substitute for real-life experience. But there is a way to simulate it.

Methodist Hospital opened a Clinical Simulation Center (Sim Center) in January 2017. HealthPartners Institute runs one at Regions Hospital, too.

Both of these centers provide a space where health professionals can practice treating medical emergencies. It teaches our care teams how to work with patients in a variety of situations – including high-risk or complex ones that aren’t often seen. And it builds and sharpens their skills in giving patients the best experience possible.

Meet Greg

“Greg” is a simulation mannequin at the Methodist Sim Center. He blinks. He breathes and has a pulse. And he can be programmed to show symptoms such as sweating, crying and even having a seizure.

There are human actors that work at the Sim Center, too. They get into character to play “patients” representing a diverse range of lifestyles and roles. That challenges our staff to be flexible and to learn how to have tough conversations. They have to figure out how to explain diagnoses and their method of care in ways that make sense to different individuals.


“It makes me more aware of my strengths and weaknesses in addressing varied issues,” said a care professional from our Park Nicollet Creekside Clinic.

The Sim Center has two “patient” rooms – one for Greg and one for the actors. Connected to each of those rooms is a command center. Here, nurse education and Sim Center staff work closely with the leaders of the teams using the center. Together they guide the caregivers in the “patient” rooms as they do simulation training. They also collect data and take video of what is happening. That is then analyzed and used for learning and critiques.

The benefit of offering the most advanced training technology

In its first year of use, more than 1,600 people trained at the Methodist Sim Center. They’ve come from all over our system – representing 140 different areas and 52 roles. And they’ve faced a wide array of practice scenarios. Some have practiced working with patients with delirium and amnesia. Some have trained on treating those with low blood pressure or lack of oxygen. And some have developed their skills with still other simulations yet.

“Watching our care teams in the Sim Center is a lot of fun,” says Beth Keating, Director of Nursing Education and Clinical Simulation. “Many don’t know what to expect if they haven’t been in one before. But they always leave with big smiles and great experiences.”

In the next year, the Sim Center hopes to get even more people trained. And new trainings mimicking other types of emergencies that occur specifically in clinics and hospitals will get rolled out, too.

“We know simulation provides a huge benefit to our teams,” Keating says. “By using mannequins or actors, they are able to learn new skills in a practice setting that improves patient safety.”