Adventures as a Medical Simulation Specialist – Part 3

Here’s Part 1 & Part 2

Namaste and Happy Friday everyone!

I ended my previous post with my adventures as a medical mission volunteer in India and working in critical care research!


Along with my research position, I also worked as a medical simulation specialist for about two years! This was pretty exciting because I was involved in:

  • medical education
  • writing patient scenarios (easy, medium or hard)
  • networking with various healthcare professionals
  • running medical simulation sessions using high-fidelity manikins
  • coordinated all the major (& minor) education events in the simulation lab

What is a medical simulator you ask?

They are high-tech manikins that have heart beats, pupils that dilate and constrict to light, eyelids that blink, imitate breathing by moving its chest up and down, speak, bleed or sweat and even have seizures! These manikins have vital signs that can be changed according to what patient scenario is to be run! You can intubate them, perform surgeries, deliver babies, perform CPR and even shock them!

Health care professionals use these manikins to practice their knowledge and skills on. Better to make mistakes and perfect skills on manikins that have a restart button!

Our sim centre had several adult manikins, baby manikins, pediatric manikins and even a BIRTHING manikin – this was pretty cool! We also had an ultrasound simulator to practice ultrasound skills & learn to read the images.

I’m seen here with my friend who was the medical simulation specialist before I joined. She matched into family medicine residency and is a practicing doc now! 🙂

I would control these manikins from behind a one-way mirror using a laptop that was wirelessly connected to the manikin! So I would be able to see the participants but they would not see me and what I will do next. I also had a mic that would allow me to pretend to be the patient and answer relevant questions – it was a lot of fun 🙂 I can make the scenario as hard as I want it to be or go easy on them 🙂


Most memorable days?

I LOVED coordinating and running education days! Queens University family medicine was affiliated with our hospital, so a major chunk of their education session was in our sim lab. Emergency department would hold ED education days in the sim lab. Pediatric Advanced Life Support courses (PALS). Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses (ACLS)…and the list goes on.

Here are some pictures from a few education days:

These education days consisted of planning and coordination that starts MONTHS in advance. I, the education department head and all the team members would have frequent meetings discussing:

  • what scenarios we were going to run (and work on those scenarios)
  • what skills stations are we running
  • what props/simulators are needed
  • if there was not a prop or simulator already in the sim lab that could meet the expectation of the educator, I would have to create one! I’ve made some pretty cool ones – pericardiocentesis models, chest tube insertion models, central line insertion models etc.
  • I would ensure all the rooms are booked, all equipment is ready to go, all people have been informed etc.

ON the day of – I would show up extra early make sure everything is PERFECT, and so far all of our education days have run pretty smoothly, if I can say so myself 🙂 There have been a couple of glitches with our simulators of course…can not expect technology to be perfect…but after some thinking it would be up and working again.

The adrenaline rush I would have at the beginning of the day…and by the end of the day when I see everyone’s smiling faces, knowing they had a wonderful experience I know I did my job well 🙂

After about two years though, I loved what I was doing but I was getting too comfortable. My GOAL was to match into a residency program and I needed to get back to clinical medicine. The knowledge and experience from clinical research & medical simulation education traveled with me as I left Ontario and moved to British Columbia!

It was 7 months ago, I took a deep breath, prayed I was making the right decision, booked a one-way ticket and left my family and friends in Toronto, my Hubby in Pittsburgh…and it was hello Vancouver! 


Till next time! 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this post!



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