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Simulator Education

Anesthesia simulators allow residents to experience both common and uncommon anesthetic events in a safe, non-threatening environment.

simulation room for anesthesiology residents

A crisis is a situation that, if not handled immediately and correctly, has the potential to be fatal for those involved or fatal for people in their care. Crisis management training utilizing simulators has been employed for many years in aviation and the nuclear power industry. Anesthesiologists were instrumental in bringing simulation to the medical community through the development of anesthesia simulators for training anesthesia residents. The realistic anesthesia simulator provides replication of most of the important aspects of the clinical environment and is used for patient management training in routine and crisis management situations.

Our department was an early adopter of this technology when we acquired our first full-scale patient simulator in 1996. In 2005 we upgraded and replaced our original simulator with a state-of-the-art METI HPS simulator. This simulator is composed of a computer controlled, lifelike mannequin that is connected to an actual anesthesia machine with full patient monitoring.

The simulator provides most pertinent body functions, including breathing, peripheral pulses, heart sounds and lung sounds. An automated drug recognition system provides for computer modeling of the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs. The powerful simulator control software allows for the creation of an unlimited number of adverse events and patient scenarios. Each scenario or event is created and refined to allow maximum resident experiential learning.

In 2013, we acquired a new portable, self-contained simulator, the CAE iStan, which will greatly expand our in-situ simulation potential. Additionally in 2013, we obtained a pediatric mannequin for our HPS simulator platform.

In 2015, we moved into a new simulation space with greatly improved facilitates. This new center is a collaboration between the university and the KU Hospital and will provide significantly improved capabilities and opportunities for training. Additionally, several of our newly hired staff has experience in simulation providing increased faculty commitment to simulation education.

The simulator curriculum has consistently received excellent reviews from our residents and is constantly being updated and refined.

More information concerning simulation in our Department is available by contacting Stephen Tarver, MD, Director of Simulation Education, at (913) 588-6670.


The simulator curriculum of the department is distinct for the CA1-2 and CA3 years. At the start of the CA1 year, the realistic anesthesia simulator is introduced along with a review of the importance of simulation training. The realistic simulator is used to teach anesthesia machine setup, monitor operations and basic patient management techniques. Each resident completes an entire induction on the anesthesia simulator prior to inducing an actual patient. CA1-2 residents continue to have regularly scheduled simulator sessions. The complexity of the simulations presented progresses as required by the resident level of training.

The simulator curriculum strives to allow exposure to simulation training in the CA1 and CA2 years that will make the residents aware of the importance of simulation training. During the CA3 year, residents will be required to design a simulator session, with staff assistance, for presentation to CA2 residents. The residents have uniformly praised these CA3 sessions as helpful and fun.

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Anesthesiology
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Mailstop 1034
Kansas City, KS 66160