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issue Spring 2021

Supporting RFU Partners with Advanced Learning Environments

By Sara Skoog, Photos by Michael R. Schmidt
Groups of nurses from Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital participate in simulation training.

Rosalind Franklin University’s Center for Advanced Simulation in Healthcare at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital in Huntley, Illinois, provides a safe learning environment for healthcare students and professionals to develop essential clinical and communication skills before entering real-world work settings. This 30,000-square-foot virtual health system provides simulation-based training that allows learners to hone their clinical skills in outpatient, inpatient, emergency, and surgical cases and settings, and it offers training opportunities for RFU’s clinical and community partners with a commitment to advance quality and safety in patient care.

“We’re supporting Northwestern’s onboarding of new nurses and helping current nurses advance their skills, helping to advance quality and safe care for the patients they serve.”

“Part of our mission is to support our partners,” said Dr. Jim Carlson, RFU’s vice president for interprofessional education and simulation. “Especially during the pandemic, we’ve continued to serve as a training facility for nurses from the Northwestern Medicine system. We’re supporting Northwestern’s onboarding of new nurses and helping current nurses advance their skills, helping to advance quality and safe care for the patients they serve.”

While the simulation center is primarily a learning environment for healthcare providers, non-clinical partners such as the University of St. Mary of the Lake (USML) Mundelein Seminary also benefit from the training resources available through the Huntley facility.

“The seminary program has learning experiences that prepare seminarians to minister to patients in a hospital setting,” Dr. Carlson said. “We started working with them about a year ago, integrating simulation training that provides patient perspectives such as someone undergoing cancer treatment or experiencing a behavioral health crisis.”

Even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the training continued via telelearning to ensure the safety of both students and staff. “We were able to modify to tele-simulation and will continue to advance this important work,” said Dr. Carlson. “We’re also actively working with USML as they continue to include active experiences with standardized patients and communication skills via tele-delivery in their curriculum. I think it’s a nice fit with RFU, as both organizations are helping to prepare their students to care for those in need.”

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