The Health Simulation Labs at Northeast Iowa Community College prepare students for their careers in ways that the most comprehensive lecturer, textbook or instructional video cannot. By simulating real-life medical situations for nursing and other healthcare program students, future graduates know more about the situations they will encounter any given day on the job.

Clinical experiences built into the College’s healthcare programs allow students to gain critical insights into their future careers. However, many students have not received training in emergency situations. Health Simulation Labs at NICC create a safe environment for students’ learning; in simulation, students can make a mistake and correct their errors.

“A big part of what I learned from the simulation lab and then its application to the real-life medical setting is teamwork. When you’re working as a charge nurse on the floor, you need to be able to delegate to your staff nurses. The simulation labs at Northeast Iowa Community College give you more experience before you’re thrown into the real healthcare world, with real emergencies,” explained Kalissa Friedman, B.S.N., R.N., an NICC and R.N.-to-B.S.N. University of Iowa graduate.

There are four simulators at the College’s Calmar and Peosta campuses that offer 20 pre-programmed scenarios for instruction. Additional scenarios can be programmed depending on faculty, staff or healthcare provider training needs. The scenarios train students for cardiac, respiratory, obstetrics and other trauma situations. The labs also feature adjoining viewing rooms that allow instructors to direct various exercises testing student skills, observe student responses in real-time and record simulations for future review by students and their peers. Video recordings of each simulation exercise form the substance of debriefing, where students, peers and their instructors can use the recorded simulations to discuss an exercise or review past exercises for added learning opportunities.

The College also integrated the simulation technology into Emergency Medical Services (EMS) programs to train and prepare students for their careers. Paramedic students are required to participate in over 40 unique 15-20 minute scenarios prior to their Capstone Field Internship. Each of these scenarios utilizes either a full body patient simulator or moulaged standardized patient and mimics out-of-hospital scenarios with realism. 

“These are high-tech manikins; they have voices, and we control their reactions, pulse rates and other vitals. The students in the simulation labs may never have encountered certain types of emergencies before,” said Sandy Neyen, NICC paramedic clinical coordinator. “Through simulation, we are able to take our students’ lecture and skill base and put it all together. The biggest outcome we have seen is the critical thinking skills our students develop.”

Healthcare professionals at local hospitals and ambulance services also complete training using the College’s simulation labs.

See our students in action during a simulation lab training at and select the “Additional Information” tab.