With the recent spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, schools across the country were faced with the unexpected but necessary shift to online learning—a transition that forced many students in healthcare fields to miss not only in-person classes but also hands-on clinical training.
Simucase, the sister company of Continued, has offered virtual patient healthcare simulation for more than a decade, but the global pandemic has increased demand for simulated learning as clinics across the country have closed their doors.
Through Simucase, graduate students in speech-language pathology, audiology, and occupational therapy were able to continue earning clinical experience during the pandemic despite clinic closures, which for many made the difference in their ability to graduate on time.
“By using Simucase’s digital learning platform, our students were able to continue their clinical practica even during a time of uncertainty in the world around us,” said Sarah Launchbaugh, MS, CCC-SLP, clinical assistant professor of speech-language pathology at the University of Tulsa. “Even in typical times, we utilize Simucase to give students exposure to patient populations that are unavailable in our speech clinic due to low incidence of the disorders.”
“By using Simucase’s digital learning platform, our students were able to continue their clinical practica even during a time of uncertainty in the world around us.” — Sarah Launchbaugh, MS, CCC-SLP
Simucase is a virtual patient healthcare simulation software platform that helps students transition successfully from the classroom to the clinical setting via a safe and supportive online learning environment. Using real patient stories, students can utilize Simucase to expand their knowledge and become more skilled professionals before practicing in the field. The platform broadens students’ access to low-incidence medical populations and addresses the shortage of clinical placement opportunities while providing repeat practice to improve clinical decision-making skills.
While numerous universities already used Simucase to supplement the in-person clinical experience prior to the pandemic, this resource became particularly valuable during the pandemic when clinic access was suspended.
“Simucase offers the premiere simulation program for faculty and students to rely on as an alternative to in-person clinical training during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19.” — Katie Strong, PhD, CCC-SLP
“Simucase offers the premiere simulation program for faculty and students to rely on as an alternative to in-person clinical training during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19,” said Katie Strong, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor at Central Michigan University. “I’m grateful for Simucase and so fortunate that I have had lots of experience in using it even before the pandemic.”
More than 400 speech-language pathology, audiology, and occupational therapy programs utilized Simucase during the spring semester 2020, which accounts for nearly 20,000 students and 4000 faculty.
In a recent faculty survey, the majority of programs said they will continue using Simucase as part of their students’ clinical experience beyond the pandemic.
“Simucase offered a really fortunate alternative to fieldwork experiences when completing them in person was no longer an option [due to the pandemic],” said Sierra Jay, occupational therapy student at Missouri State University. “Using Simucase is also a nice way to familiarize yourself with new assessments. I loved getting to see them performed and then test my knowledge through application questions.”
“Simucase offered a really fortunate alternative to fieldwork experiences when completing them in person was no longer an option [due to the pandemic]. Using Simucase is also a nice way to familiarize yourself with new assessments. I loved getting to see them performed and then test my knowledge through application questions.” — Sierra Jay, occupational therapy student at Missouri State University
“The Simucase team offers our heartfelt congratulations to the recent graduates who utilized our patient simulation platform to fulfill their final clinical clock hours,” said Stacy Williams, PhD, CEO and founder of Simucase and COO of sister company continued. “Simulation learning opportunities offer students a no-risk learning environment and promote repeated practice and clinical mastery. This type of high-stakes learning is incredibly beneficial and is what we need in the fast-paced, ever-changing healthcare profession. We are proud to offer this learning platform to help students, professionals, and ultimately the patients they serve.”
Simucase has more than 100 simulations in its library and more than 700 total patient observation videos. Simucase offers patient simulations in speech-language pathology, audiology, and occupational therapy, and will launch simulations in physical therapy later this summer.
“I learned skills through Simucase that I did not learn at my clinical externships,” said Melynda Yepez, a speech-language pathology student at the University of St. Augustine. “Furthermore, Simucase gives me hands-on practice and prepares me for the real world with real clients. Simucase also gave me the opportunity to evaluate and treat clients for disorders that I most likely will never see.”
“Simucase gives me hands-on practice and prepares me for the real world with real clients.” — Melynda Yepez, speech-language pathology student
Simucase in the news:
From the University of Central Florida: Simulation Helps Graduate Students Continue to Earn Clinical Hours
From the University of Tulsa: TU’s speech-language pathology faculty, students deliver therapy at a distance
From the Independent Tribune (Concord, North Carolina): Cabarrus College of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students Receive Top Score of the Week in Simulated Field Work
From Penn State: Simucase allows graduate students to practice with virtual patients
From Illinois State University: Simucase helps students obtain clinical clock hours during COVID-19 shutdown