Due to the proprietary nature of research, only a few details will be provided until these projects are completed. Once published, the projects will be described in full in the last section of this page. Thank you for your understanding.

Only the principle investigators / first authors are listed for each project.

Assessment / Certification

Assessment of practicing healthcare workers is critical for maintaining a highly qualified, up to date staff. Continuing Education for physicians, nurses and technicians is a component that the Center provides, but the other half of the process is evaluating and certifying the efficacy of the provider's skills.

  • Creating Simulation-Based Performance Assessment Tools for Practicing Physicians - Dr. Elizabeth Sinz is leading Penn State Hershey's part in this ten institution collaboration. The research is focused on creating a methodology for assessment and recertification for practicing physicians. Anesthesiology is the initial specialty, with more to follow.

Teaching Tools

As part of its mission, the Sim Center supports research in designing new teaching tools to be used in healthcare education. To further this goal, the lab provides space, tools, and contacts with experts in a number of related fields worldwide. Several projects are underway currently, as individual work and as collaborative efforts with academic and corporate partners.

  • Effectiveness of an Internal, Computer-Based, Chest Compression Simulator - This is a medical student research project run by Joshua Glick, under the guidance of Emergency Medicine's Dr. Thomas Terndrup. This project is looking at the effectiveness of a manikin that gives real time feedback on the quality of chest compressions (rate, depth, release) using the American Heart Association guidelines as the standard.
  • Epidural Simulator - Dr. Bosseau Murray is heading a multi-year project to develop a virtual reality simulator to teach placement of epidural catheters.


Education comprises a large part of the Center's mission and the majority of its everyday activities. Constant evaluation and improvement of the educational process are necessary to maintain the highest quality programs. Research projects look at many aspects of education, including better ways of training the healthcare provider and educating the patients and families so they are better able to participate in their own care and decision making.

  • Simulation Enhanced Patient Education - Sally Rudy is the lead on this project, which is researching methods of patient and family education prior to discharge from the hospital. It is believed that better-trained patients will have fewer complications at home and fewer readmissions to the hospital for problems. The pilot project is training patients on post-discharge PICC line care.
  • Within the Department of Anesthesiology senior residents have the option of selecting a research month in the Simulation Lab. The month's rotation is designed to allow the resident to explore a topic of interest to them, design a teaching session around the topic, and present the session to their fellow residents. The project is expected to produce a teaching session that can be used in future Anesthesiology courses. Depending on the topic, the session could also be modified for use in other related specialties. The resulting publication is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and for presentation at the Simulation in Healthcare International conference. There is no project currently underway through the resident rotation month.

Completed Projects

Many research projects have been successfully developed over the years. A small sampling of projects follows, with links to the published abstracts or articles where available.

  • Trauma and Awareness - Dr. Singh combined standardized patients and manikins in a series of scenarios that spanned a patient's care from the trauma bay to a follow-up office visit. He looked at the realism of each modality and how easily the trainees could transfer between manikins and actors across different vignettes of the same patient case. [Presented at the 2005 International Meeting on Medical Simulation (IMMS, now called IMSH).]
  • Large Group CM/CRM - Dr. Murray evaluated the usefulness of using a variety of teaching methods for large groups to participate in simulation-based sessions. These options were shown to still give value to the participants even though hands-on learning was impossible due to group size. [Presented at the 2004 American Society of Anesthesiologists' (ASA) meeting.]
  • MH / Latex Nursing Simulation - Karin Underberg, RN, conducted a study to determine the best approach to presenting a refresher course to operating nurses on malignant hyperthermia and latex allergy. The majority of participants found this style of review to be highly effective and would prefer this to a lecture, videotape, or other passive method. The target audience has been expanded to include OR orienteers, outpatient surgery staff, and student nurses. [Presented at the 2003 Association of peri-Operative Registered Nurses (AORN) meeting]
  • Sampling Tube Leak - Dr. Terry Durbin examined the effect of damage to sampling tubes on the capnography waveform shape. He used sampling tubes with damage at various locations to alter the capnography trace, which mimics patient problems or masks real ones. [Presented at the 2003 American Society of Anesthesiologists' (ASA) meeting.]
  • Brain Modeling - Dr. Murray is leading the modeling team to incorporate the brain as an organ in the pharmacology modules of the HPS. The recently completed portion of this long-term project involved creating a stand-alone flat screen simulation of a brain vascular pharmacological model. The current version of the simulator was presented at METI's HPSN meeting in Tampa, February 2007.