Campus News

The quality training available to students in Lethbridge College’s Simulated Patient Health Environment for Research and Education (SPHERE) lab has been singled out for its exceptional results by an independent evaluation.

Laerdal’s Simulation Education Solutions for Nursing (SESN) is an independent evaluation of simulation programs throughout North America that includes a series of onsite meetings, interviews and surveys to evaluate simulation programs identify opportunities for improvement. SPHERE scored 79 per cent across 27 key performance indicators in the SESN evaluation, the highest initial score achieved by any simulation lab since SESN evaluations began in 2015. Average initial SESN reviews range between 25 and 45 per cent.

“In SPHERE, we strive for excellence, innovation and transformational education founded on inclusivity, meaningful impact and collective unity,” says Sheri Wright, SPHERE coordinator. “We are proud of our assessment and the score; however, even more, we celebrate the collaborative partnerships and initiatives throughout the college that help our area achieve this success. SPHERE wouldn’t be what it is today without the partnerships we have built with internal and external partners, the committed SPHERE team, and our Peer Connection and Leadership Student Volunteer initiative.”

SPHERE began as a lab where nursing students were able to practice real-life situations, but it has since evolved to encompass much more. The area now provides training opportunities to a variety of students from all programs within the Centre for Health and Wellness, and team members work together with programs from outside the centre, such as Justice Studies and Digital Communications and Media, for collaborative learning opportunities. The SPHERE team also works closely with many industry partners, including Alberta Health Services, the City of Lethbridge and many community members.

“Lethbridge College stands as one of the premier facilities that supports the education of many health professions in Canada,” says Bruce Karatzoglou, manager, Educational and Technical Services Canada with Laerdal Medical Canada. “With its strong support from senior administration, its exemplary staffing model and its well-equipped facilities, SPHERE is well positioned to further increase its impact on learning outcomes and become an exemplar in simulation education within the programs it supports.”

Wright is delighted with how the area has grown and adapted over time. She also mentions how proud she is of the leadership within the Centre for Health and Wellness.

“SPHERE would not have had this innovative transformation without the support and leadership within our centre. I feel really grateful for that,” says Wright. “Our whole team is dedicated to excellence, creativity and finding innovative solutions to the needs of various programs. Above all, we always strive for authenticity and realness.”

Following the strong review results, the SPHERE team now plans to pursue simulation accreditation in both Canada and internationally. SPHERE helps close the gap between theory and practice, creates realistic training scenarios for future healthcare workers and provides opportunities for students to embrace failure as a learning strategy. The SPHERE team won the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association (ACIFA) award for Innovation in Teaching in 2020.

Note: This story was written by Jessica Smith, a practicum student who worked in Lethbridge College’s Communications office for five weeks this year and a soon-to-be graduate of the college’s Digital Communications and Media program.