Clinical Skills Development Service

About Us

Introduction / History


The Queensland Health Clinical Skills Development Service (CSDS) is the one of the world’s largest providers of healthcare simulation.

We deliver education and training to Queensland Health staff and external healthcare providers at the Skills Development Centre and state-wide. We aim to achieve the best outcomes for patients, educators, and clinicians in Queensland through eight core functions.

Eight core functions of CSDS

1. Clinical education

CSDS provides clinician education to a broad cross-section of healthcare providers, using a support framework that ensures programs are sustainable and allows equitable access across Queensland.

Our focus is on eLearning and face-to-face simulation education to deliver clinical education. This is achieved by strong collaborations with other Queensland Health services, colleges, universities, and Hospital and Health Service (HHS) staff.

We have safeguards in place to protect the privacy of every professional who participates in a course at the Skills Development Centre, thus providing a safe, secure, and confidential training environment.

2. Simulation provider education

CSDS delivers education for simulation providers, to improve or maintain the quality of simulation education delivery. This includes training Simulation Coordinators to operate simulation equipment and provide technical support. This training is essential support for Pocket Centres and Skills Centres, contributing to local sustainability.

We also offer a range of simulation provider courses for those delivering and developing simulation-based education, which can also be credited towards a nationally recognised Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Simulation.

3. State-wide simulation education access

CSDS provides a large range of support services to Pocket Centres and Skills Centres to improve state-wide simulation education access across Queensland, using a hub- and-spoke model.

The hub–and-spoke model consists of the Brisbane Skills Development Centre (hub) linking to the other Queensland Skills Centres and Pocket Centres, providing in situ training within Hospital and Health Services across Queensland.

The services and tools provided include:

  • setting up and maintaining audiovisual equipment
  • providing access to a large pool of simulation equipment
  • access to an online curriculum and resource sharing database
  • accreditation tools that provides a quality framework for simulation education sites.

4. Asset management

CSDS conducts sustainable asset management strategies to ensure high-quality simulation equipment is available at a minimal cost. Simulators and related equipment are repaired, maintained, and tracked centrally at the Skills Development Centre to lower direct costs and provide redundancy in available equipment.

A formalised process for evaluation of new simulation education technologies contributes to the asset management process and ensures appropriate use of technology.

5. Research

CSDS participates in and leads a range of research projects in collaboration with universities, clinicians, and government organisations. Our research focuses on improving clinical practice and education strategies, and improving clinical service delivery.

6. Network engagement

CSDS aims to effectively use marketing and communication strategies to engage with Queensland Health HHSs, stakeholders, and the international simulation industry to provide Queensland with accessible, evidence-based simulation education.

7. Service management

A range of defined processes and databases are employed to ensure service management is of high quality. CSDS has the capacity to build and maintain databases internally and uses these databases to efficiently support eLearning and simulation resources across the state.

8. Health Professional Graduates and Communication Skills

CSDS administers the Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview (PESCI) program on behalf of the Department of Health. The Australian Medical Council (AMC) has accredited CSDS as one of the five accredited PESCI Providers in Australia. It is also a requirement of the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) that international medical graduates (IMGs) applying for limited registration or provisional registration undergo a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI).

The PESCI program ensures that there are quality processes and standards for IMGs who are seeking employment with Hospital and Health Services (HHSs).

To enable newly appointed IMGs to transition to professional practice in Queensland, CSDS delivers a suite of communication programs to prepare doctors for the AMC Clinical Examination and clinical practice. This is to ensure that IMGs progress to general and specialist registration according to MBA requirements and to fill identified workforce shortages in Queensland. One of the CSDS communication programs, for example, delivers communication and cultural tutorials, which simulate real-time consultations, to IMGs in all HHSs. It is essential that all IMGs achieve communication and cultural competency in order to fulfil expectations of colleagues and patients alike.


The Clinical Skills Development Service arose from a proposal by staff from Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) for a simulation centre. Based on a tour of international simulation centres, they identified that simulation was not only a richer form of training but likely to be the way of the future. The proposal to the then Director-General Dr Rob Stable was expanded so that a state-wide facility was created, called the Queensland Health Skills Development Centre (SDC). The SDC, located on the RBWH campus, was opened on 23 September 2004.

In 2004, the SDC was the largest of its kind in the world, with considerable simulation and audiovisual capacity. With the success of a range simulation courses covering several professions, and as the demand for courses and simulation grew, the focus of the SDC quickly changed from the concept of a single site providing the simulation training for all of Queensland Health, to the SDC being a support service that allows the development of simulation capacity across the state.

In 2008, a hub-and-spoke model of support was developed, with the SDC becoming the hub of a Clinical Skills Development Service (CSDS), supporting simulation providers throughout Queensland. This focused on providing systems and resources to support Pocket Centres, ensuring the imbedding of simulation close to or within clinical environments. In conjunction with its role of providing support to hospital-based skills centres, the growth of Pocket Centres provides clinicians with the tools and techniques to address local needs. These in situ programs now address local training requirements, just-in-time training, and even process redesign.

Annually, the SDC now supports the training to tens of thousands clinicians and students. This training is being matched by the work of Skills Centres and Pocket Centres that the CSDS supports through the training of Faculty and Simulation Coordinators, provision of curriculum resources, and the distribution and maintenance of simulator equipment across the state. An investment in research and ongoing commitment to improving services for simulation education providers will continue to enable simulation to enhance the education of clinicians, improve clinical service delivery, and contribute to better clinical outcomes for patients.