Reflective Journal Entry After Visiting a Sim Lab

As part of my faculty role practicum, I wrote a reflective journal entry about meeting with a dedicated simulation faculty at a local university.


Write a one page reflective summary of experience, using the Gibb’s Reflective Cycle Model (description, feelings, evaluation, analysis, conclusion, action plan) (Gibbs, 1988).


My visit to the Clinical Performance Lab (CPL) allowed me to sit in and observe 3 simulations with undergraduate students. It was a new simulation for the program, developed by a master’s student. Along with the sim faculty, another faculty – content expert in pediatrics was facilitating the scenario.

In addition to observing the simulation, I was able to interview the sim faculty extensively about her role, her pre-briefing and de-briefing practices and all things simulation.

Often other faculty are very proficient in simulation and the  sim faculty allows them to run debrief and other aspects of the simulations. But there are some faculty who are simply not familiar with the best practices of simulation and debriefing methods or just do not have enough time and experience in simulation, in which case then, they serve as content experts to support her in facilitation. It is sim faculty’s expertise, as evidenced by  certification (CHSE) in simulation and the role as dedicated simulation faculty that allows her to make those determinations.

We talked about the pre-briefing practices at the CPL for a while also. Students will receive materials from their course instructor, some very basic and others more complex, however they are working to revise and standardize simulation preparation. As simulation is considered a clinical day, students should be as prepared for it in the same way. The onsite pre-brief consists mostly of an orientation to the simulation and scenario. The sim faculty will informally tailor the presentation depending on the experience level of the student and the type of scenario.

I  also discovered that a method of managing lots of students- presenting unfolding scenarios for a clinical group split in two as I do  is something they do there as well.

Feelings: I always love meeting and talking with other simulation faculty. We are a unique bunch of people, who are passionate about simulation and who teach in an innovative way. We share a universal set of values about the benefits of simulation and learning in a simulation setting. As a result of this experience, I came away with a strong sense of validation regarding my own beliefs and practices in simulation. My approach is consistent with that of the experts- and now with my own CHSE I am technically an expert also. I learned that even though I operate in a small, restricted simulation setting right now, I am doing as much as possible to maintain the standards of best practice.

I was able to explore this simulation center model and gain some insights that I can transfer to BC as we work to expand and grow our own simulation center. It was very clear to me that having the equipment and physical space is only part of requirements. Having a strong simulation team –with administrative, technical and operations support along with faculty who support the program policies is necessary to provide a stable and sustainable simulation center for students. I face a lot of challenges in my role at BC and while faculty support the idea of me becoming a simulation expert/director there, our resources and capabilities as provided by the college are limiting and may restrict our growth. Seeing how much this instituion supports its CPL and simulation programs shows me what can be possible if the mission of the institution supports the use of innovative teaching and learning methods like simulation.


The practicum experience was rich for me. Again, being able to connect with like-minded folks on a very personal level is rewarding. I have attended tons of conferences and there are opportunities there to network and connect, but the directed experience of the practicum allowed me to focus on my needs and gain deeper insights.

In dicussion, I found that my pre-brief practice is very similar to what they do at the CPL. I learned more about other aspects of preparation for students, including assignments and the guidelines and sim lab policy.


My overall impression of the experience for me was validating. I confirmed that my practices at BC are consistent with those of an expert simulation faculty. I was able to also gain some ideas for approaching simulation and also share some of my own practices and methods. While our programs are very different in size and resource, students  still gain a great deal  in the simulations we offer. I mentioned to that since I am just a “one woman show” there at BC, we only are able to offer a few simulation experiences for students, to which the sim faculty said something like, “It’s better to do just a couple high quality scenarios than a bunch of poorly done simulations”.


I feel it was a strong, hands-on, personalized learning experience for me. It’s tricky to explore a faculty role as this class requires, as I am already in one. So being able to step into the world of someone who serves in a dedicated simulation faculty role was nice. I wear many hats at BC and  I realized that if the college could figure out a way to support me as a dedicated simulation faculty, the program would benefit enormously.

Action plan:

I plan to integrate some of the ideas I got from my practicum experience into my program at BC. I learned about some useful evaluation tools which I hope to start using at BC. I plan to continue to advocate for my role as simulation faculty and the need for more support in our sim lab.


Gibbs Reflective Cycle


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