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College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Agricultural Sciences Bldg.
Phone: (208) 885-6681
Fax: (208) 885-6654

Mailing Address:
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331


College of 
Agricultural & Life Sciences
University of Idaho
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
phone: (208) 334-2999
toll free: (866) 264-7384
fax: (208) 364-4035

Coeur d'Alene

College of 
Agricultural & Life Sciences
University of Idaho
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814-2277
phone: (208) 667-2588
toll free: (888) 208-2268
fax: (208) 664-1272


Idaho Falls

College of 
Agricultural & Life Sciences
University of Idaho
1776 Science Center Dr., Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho  83402
phone: (208) 282-7900
fax: (208) 282-7929


Dietectics Program

Simulations Help Dietetics Students

CPD Program Takes on Simulation
Written by SeAnne Safaii

MOSCOW, Idaho ––  Last fall the CPD Program took an innovative approach to teaching Clinical dietetic skills to students through simulation. Clinical simulations are the newest technology to enter the clinical education environment. Clinical simulation embodies advanced technology, helps meet the demand for clinical placement sites, and embraces a new way of thinking about education. In the postsecondary health care field, simulation is increasingly recognized as a teaching resource to reduce pressure on limited clinical sites and preceptors. Benefits to using clinical simulation include increasing confidence of trainees and adding rigor to the credentialing and precepting process. Simulations are new to the area of clinical dietetics. 

In a partnership with North Idaho College Health Sciences, we provided simulated Clinical experiences to our dietetics students that replaced experiences that they would have received in local hospitals, who continue to limit their numbers of students. Simulation will help us continue to increase our enrollment numbers and expand our placements for Clinical II students around the state. Dietetics completed assessments and medical nutrition therapy on “SimMan.” This is a robotic patient in a hospital room that communicates back to them. Preceptors and instructors took turns programming the robot and challenging the students on specific cases. 

One of the advantages of this new method and use of technology is the provision of realistic clinical experiences without risk to patients and learners; essentially, learners have “permission to fail” and learn from such failure in a way that would be unthinkable in a clinical setting. Students can be exposed to clinical experiences they would rarely see, and events can be scripted and practiced. Scenarios can be designed with increasing complexity and introduced in a controlled way. Skills can be practiced repeatedly, tailored to individual needs.

We believe that simulation-based learning can help students bridge the gap between classroom and clinical settings and support their ability to apply what they have learned. We are carefully evaluating the efficacy of this new technique and will be publishing the results of our research soon. There is definitely a need for more research to validate simulation as a teaching-learning strategy or assessment/evaluation method in the field of dietetics. The UI CPD is at the forefront of this new approach.