HealthPartners Clinical Simulation is a program within the HealthPartners Institute, dedicated to improving patient care, safety, processes and systems through innovative, simulation-based clinical education.  The Clinical Simulation and Learning Center is located within Regions Hospital and is open to clinicians and students who want to learn or practice a skill using simulation techniques.

Gail Johnson, Director of HealthPartners Clinical Simulation, answered some questions for The Office of Health Professional Education about the program and its role within HealthPartners.


What type of work does the simulation center do?

We have simulation-based courses and activities for professionals including physicians, nurses, therapists, EMS/medical flight crews as well as students–really anyone who wants to learn through or could benefit through hands-on experiential situations. We help individuals and teams utilize simulation as a tool to practice new skills or reinforce their current knowledge. This could include technical skills, clinical judgment, communication, or a combination. We also provide opportunities for practice, assessments, and research.

How does this work support HealthPartners?

Our focus at the Simulation Center is to create a realistic learning & practice environment for clinicians and students. Our team members have clinical expertise they can draw from when creating these environments. We also partner with clinicians when creating clinical scenarios.  We are not providing patient care but we’re using our clinical experience and education/simulation expertise to create situations that can help those who work in patient care. Most of our participants are practicing nurses but we also work with other healthcare professionals as well as students for education & practice as well as assessments and research.

What does a typical work day at the Simulation Center look like?

On a typical day, we have several courses and activities going on. We teach courses and also have opportunities for clinicians and students to practice on their own. Many students and residents come to practice skills like central line, starting an IV, intubation, or other aspects of working with a patient. Students usually contact us if they want to come in and practice. There is no need to pre-book or register, but we prefer at least a half hour notice for setup and to make sure there are rooms and equipment available.  We also have scheduled courses and activities.  Educators, clinicians, and students who are interested in participating in an activity can register on myLearning or contact us to create a customized activity.

Tell us about the Simulation Conference:

The Simulation Conference 2016 was the second annual conference hosted by HealthPartners Clinical Simulation. We had about 70 participants representing simulation programs and health systems as well as schools from across the region, and some from different parts of the country. Our goal of organizing this conference was to help educators increase their knowledge about simulation and learn about new techniques. Following a call for abstracts, several of our colleagues as well as representatives from Allina Health, HCMC, Metropolitan State University and University of Minnesota present during the conference.

It was also an opportunity for members of the simulation community to network, connect and learn from each other. Part of the conference was a World Café – a roundtable discussion where participants moved around to discuss several topics. Some of these topics of discussion included faculty development, funding, and opportunities.

Is the simulation program accredited?

In 2011, we became the first program in Minnesota to receive accreditation from the Society for Simulation and Healthcare. At that time, we were accredited for systems integration, teaching, and education. In January, our program was recognized at the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare for achieving reaccreditation in the areas of teaching education, assessment and systems integration.

How does simulation align with the goals of HealthPartners?

We help prepare and maintain a competent, practice ready workforce. We help HealthPartners ensure that we have a competent group of providers that ultimately aligns with our organization’s commitment to patient safety and providing the best possible care to our patients and members. We are an accredited program, which demonstrates that we are meeting standards set by international experts in simulation. By providing simulation opportunities to train a practice ready workforce, we ultimately help maximize the outcome for our partners, whether it is the stakeholders, leaders, clinicians or most importantly, our patients.

Questions? Contact the Simulation Center at




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