Advancing simulation: A profile of Dr. John Schaefer

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Advancing simulation: A profile of Dr. John Schaefer
October 05, 2012

2012 Ontario Simulation Exposition keynote speaker Dr. John Schaefer is the quintessential creator and collaborator. Not only does Dr. Schaefer have an impressive resume—formerly serving as Director of the WISER Institute and now as Director of HealthCare Simulation South Carolina—but chances are he has affected your life in some way…whether you know it or not.

The man behind SimMan and various other tools of the trade

Dr. Schaefer is a prolific inventor. While serving as Director of the WISER Institute (1997 – 2006), Dr. Schaefer co-designed an affordable and functional simulator that would go on to become the popular LaerdalAirMan and SimMan models.

He built a simulation informatics system in collaboration with B-Line Medical called SimBridge. The system, which took three years to develop, is now widely accessible to members of Dr. Schaefer’s HealthCare Simulation South Carolina, a statewide simulation network.

Dr. Schaefer is the mind behind Laerdal's SimStore, a system similar to the iTunes concept that is dedicated to the creation and distribution of educational materials and systems in support of healthcare simulation. Dr. Schaefer is now working with Lippincott Williams & Wilkins to add more simulation-specific content for the publisher’s educational materials.

The network builder

Following his departure from Pennsylvania’s WISER Institute, Dr. Schaefer headed to South Carolina to establish HealthCare Simulation South Carolina. This simulation network was built from scratch, including the development and implementation of the SimBridge informatics system. Dr. Schaefer and his team relied on effective collaboration to bring multiple professions and organizations together.

The State of South Carolina now stands as a beacon of simulation success. But at the time of Dr. Schaefer’s arrival much of the State lacked the infrastructure and knowledge of simulation.

“When I first took this role, there were only approximately 2,500 simulations going on in the state. Now, there are more than 50,000 a year taking place in the collaborative alone. This number will only grow.”

Today, Healthcare Simulation South Carolina includes ten collaborative institutions. All parties interviewed had glowing things to say about the network as well as the man who helped create it.

“As members of the collaborative, we are able to engage in knowledge transfer with other members. With Dr. Schaefer, in particular, we get over two decades worth of experience and expertise,” said Dr. Robert Morgan, Simulation Program Director at Greenville HealthCare Simulation Center. Greenville HealthCare Simulation Center was the first simulation centre built by Dr. Schaefer and his team in 2007.

“At first, we were reluctant to get involved in simulation, but they have been with us every step of the way, helping design our simulation centre and working with the architects,” said Muriel Horton, Dean of Nursing at Trident Technical College.

“They loaned us a manikin right out of the gate,” said Erin Mckinney, Director, University of South Carolina (USC) College of Nursing Clinical Simulation Lab. “I went from not knowing much about simulation to becoming a competent simulation manager.”

Meet Dr. Schaefer at the Expo

SIM-one is pleased to have Dr. John Schaefer as a Keynote Speaker at the 2012 Ontario Simulation Exposition, an annual event that celebrates the creativity, dedication and accomplishments of Ontario’s healthcare simulation community. Dr. Schaefer will also be leading a workshop.