Simulation labs are a growing part of healthcare training and education programs, but simulation lab managers still face some challenges when it comes to hiring the right staff, raising the necessary funding, and purchasing the right equipment, among other things. In the final recap of Level 3 Healthcare’s recent webinar, “15 Challenges in Healthcare Simulation and How to Conquer Them,” David Escobar, Director of Healthcare Simulation at Level 3 Healthcare, offers some insight for simulation lab managers to resolve their most common obstacles and frustrations.
Managing a Sim Lab? Here Are 5 Things You Need to Do
- Hire the ideal sim tech. David refers to a sim tech as a “mixture of multiples,” and that makes it difficult to know what kind of backgrounds and experience are most important. For example, do you want a sim tech with an IT background? Or someone with medical experience, like an EMT? The best candidate will depend on the environment of your simulation lab, David said. A sim tech in a hospital lab doesn’t need a medical background, for example, because there are clinicians everywhere.
- Write a sim tech job description. Level 3 Healthcare has collected a stockpile of sim tech job descriptions, David said, and no two are the same. Also, many sim tech job descriptions don’t include a description of the ideal candidate. Another tip: you can’t require a master’s degree and five years of experience and then offer entry-level pay. David said the best sim tech job descriptions name a reasonable salary and leave room for growth because they include words like “ability to” instead of “required.”
- Show the value of sim techs. The key here is to collect as much data as possible, David said. For example, sim techs should track things like how long it takes them to empty the beds after a simulation. What seems like a simple task can be complex and time-consuming, and quantifying the work sim techs do can help justify higher salaries and more full-time employees.
- Raise funds. Healthcare simulation labs need funding just like every other part of the organization, and there are ways for sim techs and other lab staff to help bring the money in. David recommends joining in on existing fundraising efforts and events. On-site fundraising events could include tours of the simulation center, so more people can see the work being done there and the value it brings.
- Make educated purchasing decisions. As other webinar presenters also mentioned, sim techs and simulation lab managers can get distracted by the “next big thing” in simulation technology. To make sure they buy the right thing, not just the coolest thing, sim techs should have clearly defined objectives. Getting recommendations and references from other members of the sim tech community also helps, David said.
For a full picture of the most common healthcare simulation challenges facing both technicians and managers, watch the full webinar on demand. You can also get in touch with one of our healthcare simulation experts to discuss solutions tailored to your needs.