SIMDiscovery: Education Patients and Families the Medical Procedures and Diagnosis through Simulation Play

Interview with Kirsten Getchell, MS, CCLS, Child Life Specialist III, Trust & Special Events

Posted on October 2, 2017


Could you tell us more about what SIMDiscovery is?

Child Life Specialists in collaboration with SIMPeds ,educates children and families about different medical procedures and diagnosis through simulation play. Children were given teddy bears to bring through a “hospital experience” often times using real medical supplies. The hope is that the children have improved understanding about potential medical experiences they might encounter in the future.

For instance, a child visits the doctor in the fall, and they need to get the flu shot. We went through the steps on how to get a flu shot with the children and their bears. We showed them the steps on the bears, and practiced coping techniques such as deep breathing and using a stress ball.


What are the main goals of SIMDiscovery?

The 3 goals of SIMDiscovery are:

  1. To decrease anxiety and increase comfort around medical experiences.
  2. To teach children and families through simulator space.
  3. To increase accessibility to healthcare preparation and education for the greater BCH and Boston community


What do you expect in the future with SIMDiscovery?.

We hope to hold a SIMDiscovery event yearly. Now that we have completed two events, we’re hoping to invite schools in the area for future events.


Any feedback from the kids and families?

Children and families reported increased understanding and awareness of different medical procedures. In addition, they reported that there was an increased comfort level with different medical equipment and medical environment.


What do you and other child life staffs think of SIMDiscovery?

As child life specialists, we believe events like this are not only great for the community, but also for us as professionals. Often times, we see kids in the hospital when they are most sick. But with SIMDiscovery, kids are not in the hospital, but feeling well, so the way they interact and take in prepatory experiences is very different.


Do you know when the next one will be?

We’ve facilitated two SIMDiscovery events to date, and are hoping to do another in the fall of September 2018.




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