Simulation in non-academic settings

Admittedly I have spent the last 7 years developing a simulation program in only one setting- academic. I have developed and implemented simulation for pre-licensure nurses in an ADN program. But in my years of learning and exploring, I have met with and learned from experts from all settings. Many in hospitals, at large universities with huge IPE programs, and even a few independent simulation companies. While my direct hands-on experience has been focused on students and their learning and application of new skills, I have been exposed to the many ways simulation can improve nursing, and not only nursing, but health care overall.  In fact, the certified healthcare simulation educator exam  is geared towards a variety of settings, and in my preparation for it, I had to open my mind to not only what works or is appropriate in my setting, but to also understand the universal “truths” of simulation in all settings.

Recently I endeavored to learn a little more about ways simulation is used in hospitals and healthcare systems. In my searches, I came across a very informative plenary speech from IMSH 2014 by Dr. Jennifer Arnold (link at the end of this post). At first I thought, she seems familiar- I remember seeing her at IMSH in 2016 and thinking then how I had seen her at other conferences (I notice the Sim Celebs at these things!) and that I’d seen her at other conferences. I don’t watch a lot of TV shows,  so I completely missed that she’s also a reality TV star! Once I found that out, I fell in total love with her- an  educated, eloquent and intelligent woman, representing simulation to the public was a great thing! Next time I see her at a conference, I plan to shake her hand and thank her!

That was my first time at IMSH- I’ve attended INACSL (very nursing focused) a few times and other nursing education focused NLN sponsored conferences, but this year was my first IMSH and it was amazing. It was a refreshing experience to interact and network with simulation experts from all sorts of disciplines and backgrounds.

Anyhow back to her speech- she explained the model they  developed at Texas Children’s Hospital to use simulation. It includes 5 areas that simulation can be applied:

  • Education
  • Competency and Assessment
  • Quality and Patient Safety Initiatives
  • Research and Development
  • Advocacy

In her speech she gives examples of each area and how they have developed simulations in response to a need presented to their center. Having a framework which the center’s mission is build upon is crucial. It keeps the simulation center focused on it’s mission, and creates criteria for appropriate use of resources and a structure for evaluation and program development.

In academia, we often find ourselves focused on specific learning outcomes and lose sight of the big picture of what those outcomes feed into. Our program is currently undergoing a curriculum revision and after the development of a new philosophy statement, we had to distill out program/educational outcomes for “what our students should look like” when they complete the program. That was a challenging but intriguing endeavor that produced 5 solid  outcomes that we can build our curriculum around. I think as the simulation “person”, I need to now integrate those outcomes into my simulation center mission (I am working on a policy and procedure manual for our newly renamed “Clinical Performance and Simulation Center”) so that the resources are used in a mindful fashion with program outcomes/goals in mind.  I think I might also develop a framework similiar to this.

I am using the SSIH Accreditation Standards to build the policy and procedure manual as they give a good framework for essential elements in a high functioning sim center. I plan to integrate the following standards into a mission/framework, along with the program philosophy and education outcomes:

Here is Dr. Arnold’s great speech:


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