Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre

The Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital is a state-of-the-art learning space with a full operating theatre that engages learners across professions to improve both individual technical skills and teamwork skills. As the second-only simulation centre in Canada, which opened in 1996, it has pioneered interprofessional simulation education and solidified its expertise in this area. Upon its establishment, it offered training programs in Trauma and Anesthesia for medical students and residents from the University of Toronto, while pioneering the integration of simulation into the medical training curriculum.

The simulation program reached a significant milestone in 2015 when it achieved a five-year accreditation by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada — a title shared by only 11 centres in the country. Accredited simulation programs are nationally recognized as leaders in simulation-based learning. This title recognizes the program’s efforts to provide learning activities that adhere to the latest educational research to ensure patient safety and quality care provided by health professionals. It signifies that St. Michael’s meets the rigorous standards for accreditation and showcases its commitment to pursuing excellence in healthcare education and scholarship.

Over the last few years, St. Michael’s implemented a range of Life Support training and programs at the simulation centre and across the hospital. Below is a list of what St. Michael’s currently offers:

30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada


Copyright © 2016 St. Michael's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.


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  • Growth

    In 2009-2010, the simulation centre began a period of growth through supporting more clinical education programs and introducing simulation education trainings for nursing staff and students. During this year, the simulation centre supported hands-on training for nearly 1,300 users. From this point on significant growth came from the introduction of interprofessional team training in Trauma, Code Blue, Critical Care, Medical Imaging and Neonatology.

    Today, the simulation centre supports education and research activities for over 6,000 interprofessional users every year.

  • New Home

    In 2011, the Allan Waters Family Simulation Centre moved from its one-room location in the hospital to its new home in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and became the newest and most advanced hospital simulation centre in Canada. The centre is situated within the Education portfolio and is considered a strategic enabler that is accessible to all hospital staff, physicians, educators, researchers and students.

  • Curriculum

    The Department of Anesthesia established the first program in Canada to incorporate simulation-based technology in medical education. Since 2009, the Anesthesia Crisis Resource Management (ACRM) program has been incorporated into the core curriculum for all anesthesia residents.

    In 2012, a published research study by Dr. Teodor Grantcharov and his team confirmed the value of simulation in medical education. Students trained through St. Michael's simulation-enhanced curriculum performed twice as well technically and displayed an increased knowledge of procedures. The study’s results convinced the University of Toronto to implement the training program for surgical residents, before their research article, Development and Validation of a Comprehensive Curriculum to Teach an Advanced Minimally Invasive Procedure: A Randomized Controlled Trial, was published in the July 2012 issue of the Annals of Surgery.

    Today’s simulation-based education has been adopted and incorporated into the postgraduate medical curriculum for areas such as General Surgery, Critical Care, Emergency Medicine and OBGYN.

  • Team

    The simulation centre welcomed a new leadership team in early 2013. New roles and responsibilities were also created that same year, bringing together the comprehensive simulation team of seven professionals.  A new mission statement was also created:

    “Our mission is to improve patient safety and quality of care by providing a safe learning environment to all patrons, inter-professionally and individually.  We achieve this by offering quality simulation education and research opportunities, using a wide array of simulation modalities.”

  • Recognition

    The simulation program achieved a five-year accreditation by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada — a title shared by only 11 centres in the country.

  • Opportunities

    The simulation program has been involved in the process of designing the new Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed spaces for the St. Michael’s 3.0 project (Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower). This was a collaborative project between the planning team, simulation program, ICU educators, ICU team, biomedical engineering, carpentry, information technologists, and electricians. As a part of a research project on human factors to consider while designing ICU bed spaces, the simulation session allowed the ICU design team to determine the final design for the ICU space in the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower. Simulation centre is working closely with the Planning and Development team and will be involved in different phases of the St Michael’s 3.0.

    The scope of the simulation centre has also expanded to work closely with Quality Improvement teams to investigate and better understand how health care teams work together in the clinical environment. The simulation centre plans to further develop its in-situ program by identifying educational gaps, process and policy issues and latent safety threats, which impede timely and quality care throughout the hospital.

  • Quality Improvements

    Quality improvement (QI) is at the heart of everything at St. Michael’s. It enhances the way the hospital delivers care and service to patients across the hospital and keeps staff focused on their daily work. Since 2014, in collaboration with different partners across the hospital, the simulation program has supported at least one QI initiative through in-situ simulation every year. Two projects are highlighted below.

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30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8, Canada


Copyright © 2016 St. Michael's Hospital. All Rights Reserved.


Read the full report in PDF