Cutting-Edge Healthcare Education at the Rice Energy Family Simulation Center

Nursing student practicing with simulation education

Nursing students practice lifelike training on mannequins in the new family simulation center.

Simulation education is the future of healthcare training, and one of the region's most comprehensive simulation education centers, the Rice Energy Family Simulation Center, is located at the Washington Hospital.

Simulation learners treat realistic wireless mannequins, or patient simulators, which approximate complex, lifelike health conditions. The center has 14 full-body simulators, including a pregnant patient who delivers a fully operational newborn simulator, a premature baby, a 1-year-old child, a 5-year-old child and a trauma patient.

Simulation allows learners to safely recognize, make clinical decisions and use real equipment to treat serious medical conditions that they may not experience during their clinical education. Skills learned through simulation directly benefit patients by improving their safety, treatment and recovery.

The Washington Health System School of Nursing incorporates extensive simulation education in its 16-month nursing program. Chelsey Pernock, MSN, MBA, RN, is the coordinator of simulation operations. "It's exciting to see the impact and results of the simulation center," Pernock says. "It has completely changed our clinical-staff orientation and skills competency."

"The simulation center's mission is to provide simulation-based education in a safe learning environment," she adds. "The center is a place where it is okay to make mistakes. In the hospital, you move from patient to patient without the time to reflect. Here, learners can complete a scenario and immediately analyze their actions."

Philanthropy from private donors, foundations, government and community organizations made this state-of-the-art facility possible in our community.

"Words cannot describe how much we appreciate our donors' generosity," Pernock says. "They did not just build a simulation facility. They have helped improve how we train our staff and how we treat our patients every day."

If you'd like to learn how you can contribute to healthcare education that benefits not only our nursing students, but also our community, please contact Ken Elliott at (724) 229-2701 or