Features, Science

New Sargent center attempts to begin operations without a director

On the third floor of Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the new Center for Clinical Simulation stands, featuring two mock hospital rooms where students will conduct practice medical exams with professional actors.

Craig Slater, an assistant clinical professor in SAR, said the space will also have professional grade equipment.

“It’s really to give that very authentic feeling of what it’s like to be in a hospital,” Slater said.

Sargent College at Boston University. The new Center for Clinical Simulation is on the third floor of Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. KEVIN NGUYEN/DFP STAFF

Sara O’Brien, a SAR professor and assistant to the dietetic internship director, said she is still “in the process” of obtaining the proper tools for nutrition simulations, like mannequins that teach students how to place feeding tubes.

Aside from dietetics, the center will use real actors to play the role of the patient, with wheelchairs, tubes, bandages to make the simulations seem more real.

“They’ll be dressed like a patient, they’ll act like a patient and the students will work with them as if they were a real patient,” Slater said.

O’Brien said that graduate students who are preparing for their dietetic internships will be the primary beneficiaries of the simulation experience.

“[Graduate students] have exposure to what it’s like to approach a patient before they’re even in the hospital setting seeing patients,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said the simulations are also very good to “reinforce skills.”

Undergraduate students will still get to use the center to apply the concepts and reinforce their skills, said O’Brien.

Slater said that the center was created with the four clinical graduate programs particularly in mind: occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition and speech language pathology.

Slater said that this new program emphasizes why simulation is important for learners.

“It gives the students an opportunity to practice skills in a safe environment,” Slater said.

Jolie Diskin, a senior in SAR, said that she has not had the opportunity to use the center yet, but said she thinks she and fellow students will be able to use it eventually.

Diskin added that the center seems “really cool.”

The Dean of SAR, Chris Moore, hosted a ribbon cutting for the space last December. Yet, in February, SAR has yet to fill the position of director of clinical simulation, so the center will try to begin running without one.

Slater said they have been looking for someone to fill the vacancy since November 2022, when the center was completed.

Slater said that finding a director is “really important,” especially because the center is brand new.

“We’re looking for someone to lead that initiative, and sort of help faculty to be able to deliver really great and effective simulations in that space,” Slater said.

There is also no interim director to temporarily fill the space, and the faculty have spread the would-be director’s tasks among themselves, Slater said.

“I think it’s going to be a great way for us to learn,” Diskin said.


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