From Lab to Real Life

May 1, 2008

COQUITLAM, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Grand opening ceremonies were held last week for a recently completed innovative Health Sciences Centre at Douglas College's David Lam Campus.

As the first immersive healthcare training facility of its kind, the simulation of both architectural design of a real-life hospital and "Home Health" environments combined with leading audio-visual technology provided by Acumen Engineering allow nursing students to graduate from textbook knowledge to real-life scenario as smoothly as possible. The immersive aspect requires harmony between the design of the interior and the role playing set up that is provided through integrated audiovisual recording equipment.

All Photos: Kelsey Hagglund

"What sets this system apart is how [the design] tied various simulation labs together with a centralized media
recorder to allow for compatible storage on any regular computer," Andrew Byers, pro-AV Systems Designer on
Acumen Engineering's Audio-Visual team. This allows the students to not only relate to a hospital environment but also to be able to take it with them when they pack up their books to go home.

Each of the three fully immersive simulation labs feature computer-run "patients" which exhibit signs of illness and respond to treatments based on the Simulation Expert who controls the symptomatic response from complex simulation software and Creston touch screen control system. The three medical Simman® patients blink, breath, and have a simulated pulse allowing instructors to alter their state of health from the nursing station within the immersive simulation labs.

Instant audio and video playback of their session is available to students and instructors through the college's
network for post-simulation analysis. All centralized by a computer control center designed with a collection of
programmed medical scenarios, the programming prepares students for their practicum. Any situation that can be demonstrated in a real emergency can be demonstrated within the simulation labs.

"The main purpose behind the simulation labs is not to replace practicum but to augment practicum for more effective learning," said Phi Ho, the Technology Developer and the one who designed the AV-integrated concept of the simulation lab. With this amazing ability to have patient feedback without casualties, the hospital-like interior design along with the integrated audio-visual technology foster a more integrated and gradual learning curve speaks to the transformation of integrating AV with architectural design.

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