By Devon Martinez – Student Editor

Healthcare students at PPCC have a new home to learn and prepare for their careers at the Center for Healthcare Education & Simulation (CHES), located about a mile north of the Rampart Campus.

A ceremony for the opening of the building occurred Friday, and tours were held to see the state-of-the-art sim labs, which Nursing faculty hope to develop into hands-on experiences for students.

That same morning, PPCC’s simulation lab learned that it had earned accreditation through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

The center is built for collaboration between the different medical disciplines, and the four functioning simulation labs are set-up for every field to use. The labs are designed like hospital rooms, except for one which has an apartment scheme so EMT’s can practice responding to emergencies.

Simulation Lab

“We don’t have a nurse territory, and a paramedic territory, and an EMT territory, and a dentist territory,” said Simulation Director Doug Murphy. “This building is actually designed for everyone to work together, versus in their own little silos.”

The simulations help students take what they’re learning in the classrooms and turn it into real-life situations, where they must make quick decisions just like they would in their respective career paths.

According to student government president Conner Wells, the simulation, “empowers them with the abilities, knowledge, and expertise to go out into the community and get a job at some nearby health facility and make a difference for people and change lives.”

There are four more simulation labs in the works as the program is expected to grow.

Simulation Lab

Simulations involve both people and instructional medical manikins, depending on the scenario. Some of the manikin technology is so advanced it mimics human behavior: some moan, vomit, and even give birth. Of course, it’s not the same as helping a real person, but it’s supposed to help students with muscle memory.

Work for creating a simulation includes brainstorming, scripting a scenario, connecting with local medical professionals, and a test run before sending it off for the students to experience it.

There are cameras in each room, filming the simulations so students can find ways to improve and pinpoint exactly where something went wrong. The camera footage is available for seven days.

Student’s aren’t graded on their performances; the simulations are meant for learning and improving so mistakes don’t occur once they work on real clients.

The new building is not only focused on developing the skills of current students but also is looking to grow to fill medical workforce needs.

“As we began years ago conversation with our healthcare partners and heard about their needs, we were quite shocked at the amount of workforce need that they were expressing to us and the challenges that they have around staffing hospitals and healthcare centers all around Colorado Springs,” said PPCC’s President Dr. Bolton.