There are plenty of good things about getting bigger and stronger but—whether it’s a person, a company or an industry—it can come with growing pains, and healthcare simulation is no exception. As the industry expands and the technology gets more advanced, there are both opportunities to take advantage of and pitfalls to watch out for.
The simulation experts at Level 3 Healthcare recently hosted a webinar, “15 Challenges in Healthcare Simulation and How to Conquer Them,” that outlined some of the most common issues simulation technicians confront, as well as some best practices to help deal with them. Keep reading to take a deeper dive into the first five challenges they discussed and stay tuned for additional blogs in the coming weeks that will address additional content from the webinar.
5 Challenges Sim Techs Face and How to Fix Them
The Director of Healthcare Education, Strategy, and Design for Level 3 Healthcare, shared what he thought were some of the most pressing concerns sim techs need to be aware of and prepared to resolve.
- Unreliable wireless connectivity. Wireless simulators are the next big thing in healthcare simulation, Michael said, but while some see wireless as the freedom to move he sees it as the freedom to fail. Wireless signals are easily interrupted which creates latency for the simulation technology, and there is nothing a sim tech can do about it. Especially if your manikin will be lying in a bed for the scenario—which is the most common—Michael recommends ditching wireless and sticking with a hardwired connection for better reliability and speed.
- Ignorance of simulator capabilities. Many sim techs come to the industry from another field, and there can be a learning curve for a lot of the simulation technology. That curve is even steeper for educators and faculty members who only use the simulation lab once or twice a year. The key here, Michael said, is to educate yourself. Read the manual, visit the manufacturer website, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Then share that information with other people in your organization so everyone can understand and maximize the technology you have.
- Identifying the cause of a failure. Especially since not every sim tech has a background in AV or IT, when something goes wrong it can be hard to identify what or why. Talk to the person who installed your simulation equipment—or a simulation expert like the team at Level 3 Healthcare—about what some common issues are and how you can address them before you call the help desk.
- Failure to collaborate. Sometimes, Michael said, there is an iron curtain between the technicians and operations specialists running the simulation lab and the clinical staff that are requesting simulation scenarios. That lack of communication most often leads to scenarios that don’t meet the needs of the students or teachers, and that is frustrating for everyone. The solution here is for sim techs to try to nurture relationships with other faculty and staff members. Describe what you are trying to do, Michael said, remind them that you are there to help, and make them part of the scenario design process.
- On-the-fly simulator operation. The key to a consistent simulation experience is for scenarios to be standardized, programmed ahead of time, and automated Michael said. But that process usually requires time that sim techs don’t have, so most scenarios are programmed and executed on the fly. To get consistency even when they are working on the fly, sim techs should take notes on how they set up each scenario and keep a cheat sheet handy.
To hear from the simulation experts at Level 3 Healthcare, you can watch the full webinar on-demand any time. And the team is always available to answer questions or give recommendations, so don’t hesitate to reach out.