Why Iowa?

Forty percent of Iowa’s three million people live in rural areas and rely on an extensive rural health care network of small hospitals, clinics, and EMS providers rather than the state’s large, urban health care centers. Seventy percent of Iowa’s hospitals are designated as critical access, a federal designation designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in rural communities.

A 2019 needs assessment by researchers at the University of Iowa College of Nursing found EMS and hospital education in the state is at a critical juncture. While all respondents agreed about the importance for continued education for EMS and hospital providers, few had the funding to provide the education and training.

Less than 40% of Iowa hospitals and EMS agencies provide any form of in-situ, or real world, simulation training for their personnel, instead providing the majority of their continuing education via in-person or online lectures. Though it is highly valued, the most common reasons for not providing in-situ education and training programs are lack of finances, equipment, and trained educators. For Iowa EMS agencies,  the majority of which are staffed by uncompensated providers, funding is the primary deterrent and just over half have no funds budgeted for employee/volunteer education or training.  

Serving Iowa from Ackley to Zwingle

70 %

of Iowa hospitals are Critical Access Hospitals


certified EMS providers in Iowa

< 40 %


Why Simulation?

SIM-IA focuses on providing high, mid, and low fidelity simulation experiences to healthcare providers across the State of Iowa. While clinical simulations can be found in many formal education programs for students, simulation resources are often not readily accessible for certified and licensed providers.

Providing clinical simulations for healthcare professionals beyond their initial education provides opportunities to:

  • promote active and engaged learning of new procedures, equipment, and skills
  • experience clinical situations that may occur less frequently, especially in rural areas
  • practice essential teamwork and communication skills
  • discover procedural, resource, or access challenges before impacting patient care
  • ensure the highest quality care and evidence-based practice across the state

SIM-IA's mobile program brings clinical simulations to the healthcare providers, in their clinical settings, rather than requiring travel to distant simulation centers. This unique feature allows more health care professionals to train together without disrupting staffing, patient care, and reduces both education and travel expenses. 

A simulation for most situations

Why Mobile Units

Providing consistent continuing education to the wide range of EMS and rural hospital providers across the state is challenging. The sheer number of unique agencies, personnel policies, resources, and requirements make standardizing educational services daunting. Using innovative solutions such as high-fidelity simulation, clinical experts with extensive simulation and debriefing skills, along with evidence-based protocols is one way to achieve the goal of providing Iowans with standardized high-quality care.

With our three mobile units we will bring this education on the road, allowing for medical training to take place while eliminating the expenses and hassle of travel.

Fully equipped ER bay & ambulance box