spsim 2017 Bern

PD Dr med. Elisabeth van Gessel, M.E.R.


Elisabeth van Gessel is Director of the Interprofessional Simulation Center, University of Geneva, Switzerland

Keynote 4: Building up an interprofessional curriculum

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The healthcare system and medical education per se are faced with numerous challenges – what training and education must we provide to our future health professionals? Notwithstanding the important issues such as competencies, evaluation, learning formats, etc…interprofessional education (IPE) has come to the front of the stage mainly because of its strong link with safety issues and related patient outcomes.
Though quality of evidence relating IPE to patient outcomes or healthcare processes is not that strong, effective teamwork and interprofessional practice and collaboration are considered essential to quality and safety of care. Early interprofessional education, through experiential learning tools such as simulation, could be one of the keys to improve awareness and understanding of future health of what teamwork practice is all about and particularly in the context of patient safety; furthermore, the knowledge gained by learning “with”, “from” and “about” each other can help professionals clarify roles and responsibilities for better collaborative care.


Elisabeth van Gessel accomplished her undergraduate medical studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Geneva, before starting her postgraduate medical specialty in the domain of Anaesthesiology, Pain and Intensive care medicine. This specialty training was completed by a doctorate in Medicine, followed by a “Privat-Docent” in the same domain of specialty. Other than a few training periods abroad, Elisabeth has been working as a staff consultant for nearly 25 years at the University Hospitals of Geneva.

Besides her deep interest and research in regional anaesthesia as well as her engagement in clinical practice, since 1993, she has been active as a teacher/tutor in undergraduate medical education as well as in postgraduate training, and has worked on a part-time basis as an assistant professor in the Unit of Development and Research in Medical Education (UDREM) at the Medical Faculty.

As such she has integrated and has represented Switzerland at the European Section and Board of Anaesthesiology (UEMS) and has been instrumental in the major reforms both in Switzerland and in Europe of the harmonized Postgraduate Training Guidelines in Anaesthesiology.

From the end of 2010 onwards, she has been first the project manager, then the director of the new Centre for Interprofessional Simulation (CIS), which was inaugurated in November 2013.  The CIS and its whole team are active in integrating simulation tools (in a very large sense) in the teaching of undergraduate and postgraduate students for both medicine and the allied healthcare tracks, as well as introducing interprofessional education early in health education.

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