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Experiential Learning Through Virtual Simulations 

Simulation learning is a multifaceted approach that delves into the intricacies of replicating real-world scenarios, particularly within the realms of healthcare and clinical education. Whether employing trained actors, anatomically precise mannequins, or virtual simulations, these tools are amalgamated with pedagogical best practices to enhance learning outcomes. 

Simulation Canada, stands as a pivotal entity, establishing standards and fostering an expansive network of collaborative partnerships. Through strategic alliances, the organization aims to magnify the impact of simulations-based learning in healthcare, emphasizing accessibility and inclusive design to ensure widespread educational benefits. 

The impetus behind this concerted effort is the existing skills gap in medical, nursing, and allied healthcare fields. Virtual learning emerges as a powerful solution, addressing this gap by providing hands-on practice opportunities crucial not only for knowledge acquisition but also for fostering confidence in the field. The integration of simulation learning into curricula becomes a key driver for success, equipping future healthcare professionals with the skills and confidence needed for their careers. 

However, the journey is not without challenges. The resource-intensive nature of delivering simulations-based learning, especially for larger groups of eight students or more, poses a hurdle. Furthermore, while simulations can replicate certain scenarios effectively, the inherent differences between simulations and real-life situations cannot be overlooked. A mannequin mimicking a person or an actor portraying a medical emergency only captures elements to a certain extent, underscoring the importance of acknowledging the limitations inherent in simulations. We discuss the drawbacks and ample benefits of simulations learning in our latest podcast. 

Why is this important even if you don’t work in anything relative to healthcare? Because simulations-based learning is growing in a handful of important industries, from aviation to transportation to energy, cybersecurity, teaching, and more, and it is another way to support learners to apply what they learn and grow their competencies – giving us a future workforce that is ready for whatever comes their way.  

For a deeper exploration of these important themes, join us in our latest episode of Mindset in Motion, featuring insightful discussions with Bill, Timothy, Lisa, and Joëlle. Tune in and set your mind in motion as we delve into the dynamic world of advancing healthcare education through virtual simulations. 


Meet the Guests

Dr. Timothy Willett

Dr. Timothy Willett is Simulation Canada’s President & CEO and was previously the inaugural Director of Research & Development. Tim has been working at the intersection of healthcare education, technology and leadership since 2005. He is passionate about the transformational (and overdue) value simulation is bringing to the healthcare education and delivery sectors. He is honoured to be part of this small but mighty team and the network’s passionate nation-wide community. Tim received his MD from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s of Medical Education from the University of Dundee, Scotland. He has served as a curriculum developer and educational researcher for the University of Ottawa, CRI Critical Care Education Network, and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has served on the Executive Committee and as Co-Chair of the Competency Working Group of the MedBiquitous Consortium.
Tim is privileged to live on the land of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people, in the territory covered by the Rideau Purchase (Treaties 27 and 27-1/4), where he endeavours to teach his 3 children about stewardship of the land.

Joëlle Deschambault

Joëlle Deschambault is a Project Manager in the Government and Stakeholder Partnerships Division at Colleges & Institutes Canada, the national and international voice of Canada’s largest post-secondary education network. CICan advocates, builds capacity, and drives knowledge to strengthen Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes, CEGEPs, and polytechnics. In the past two years, Joelle has been leading the planning and implementation of the Virtu-WIL project, a pan Canadian initiative to offer innovative WIL opportunities to healthcare students using virtual simulations. She holds a Master’s in international studies and has a background in non-profits and post-secondary institutions with over twelve years of experience in operational and management roles.

Lisa A. Kirk

As a nurse and educator, Lisa is passionate about nursing education and supporting student progress within the Douglas College nursing program. Lisa has been part of the nursing faculty teaching in various levels within the program. Continuing education has had Lisa developing courses and teaching within the psychiatric nursing refresher program. Lisa is the Experiential Learning Coordinator for Health Sciences programs at Douglas College. She has worked as a Registered Nurse in medical/surgical areas, emergency nursing, interventional radiology and a Clinical Nurse Educator in medicine and high acuity and continues to practice in a casual role. She brings a diverse practice background to nursing education.

She holds an undergraduate degree in nursing with a specialty in emergency nursing from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, and master’s degree in health studies from Athabasca University. Lisa has a post graduate certificate in simulation education from Bryan College of Health Sciences and has attended various supplemental education concerning simulation pedagogy and curriculum design. Lisa values collaboration with faculty and students to support experiential learning in Health Sciences.


Contact details:
Lisa Kirk RN, BSN, MHS
Experiential Learning Coordinator
BSN Faculty
Douglas College



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