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Anna Froemming

Newton Buchanan Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team!

Newton Buchanan Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team! 1024 597 Level 3 Healthcare

Newton Buchanan Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team!

Newton has been involved in healthcare simulation technology, training, and research for over eight years, serving as a simulation engineer/technologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. During this time, he established a presence in the simulation technology and large format simulation training arena. His specialties include Audio/Video capture strategies, simulation curriculum development, workflow optimization, team/group communication improvement, establishing institutional communication channels to foster better workflow and project deliverables, remote (Tele) simulation design and implementation. He has a strong interest in culture as it relates to team performance and project implementation. Newton is also a professional actor in the city of Philadelphia, PA. He’s been working in theatre for more than fifteen years and uses his theatrical arts, communications, and technical theatre skills (lighting and sound design) to better serve his simulation training/simulation and clinical research projects. As a Sim Operations & Technology Specialist with our Level 3 Healthcare team, Newton supports the sales team, and seeks new opportunities for institutions to be better at what they do best.

Newton is a very qualified healthcare simulation subject matter expert, offering you his experience and direction in:

  • workflow optimisation
  • team dynamics
  • group communication improvement
  • remote (tele) simulation
  • Simulation research technology
  • in-situ & hospital based simulation

Newton is an affiliate of SSH, SimGHOSTS, PASC, INSPIRE Network, IPSS< and North American PCCM Fellows Bootcamp.

Here at Level 3 Healthcare, we are constantly looking to expand our team in both capacity and skill set. We hand pick  professionals who have extensive simulation center and lab experience. Our hand picked team of certified professionals  have experience in Simulation Engineering to Emergency Medical Services teams. This ensures that our representatives understand first hand what your specific simulation center needs are. Our Level 3 Healthcare team, understands your needs because we have experienced similar trials. What is different now? We have the solution and capability to solve all your technology trials.

For more information about accompanying Newton and our team at Level 3 Healthcare please contact us at: info@l3hc.com

5 Reasons Your Boss Should Send You to Simulation Bootcamp

5 Reasons Your Boss Should Send You to Simulation Bootcamp 1500 1000 Level 3 Healthcare

Want to Up Your Simulation Game? Bootcamp Can Help

As a simulation technician or operations specialist, you know how valuable training can be in helping you better manage and operate your organization’s simulation center. You may also know that Level 3’s three-day, all-inclusive simulation bootcamp is the best place to get that training. Now you just need to convince your boss or manager to pick up the tab to send you. Here are five reasons the simulation bootcamp is money well spent.

Simulation Bootcamp: What’s in It for You (and Your Boss)?

  1. Get insights on emerging technologies. From virtual reality to improved manikins to streaming video for more comprehensive debriefing, simulation technology is always evolving. The more you know about emerging technologies, the more effective you can be. Implementing the newest simulation technology also ensures your students get the most advanced education, with access to the most modern tools.
  2. Receive hands-on training on simulation technology. When it comes to simulation technology, doing is learning. You’ll get hands-on practice and training that’s different—and better—from the typical classroom training—and you can apply it directly and immediately to your work.
  3. Get ideas to improve operations, planning, and budgeting. Simulation technicians and operations specialists provide significant value to a simulation program. They take the burden of managing, monitoring and troubleshooting the simulation system off the plate of educators and IT departments, which ultimately saves the organization time and money. The simulation boot camp includes leadership training and classes on advancing the simulation technician role—training that will increase the value you bring to your simulation program.
  4. Define educational standards for your simulation program. Simulation programs in medical training and healthcare settings are growing so fast that industry standards haven’t been able to keep up. That doesn’t mean, however, that your organization can’t develop and follow operational and educational standards that provide reliably high-quality experiences and outcomes. Bootcamp instructors will teach you how to create a standardized educational matrix to ensure all your students receive the same training and skills.
  5. Enhance and expand on the skills you already have. Level 3’s simulation bootcamp is open to technicians and operations specialists at every experience level. The 16 classes provided over three days are designed to optimize the skills you already have and then expand them to better meet the current and future needs of your simulation program.

Next Steps

Unlike other technology training and tradeshow events, Level 3’s Simulation Bootcamp is focused specifically on the simulation industry and helping your simulation program run smoothly and deliver superior outcomes. And with lodging, food, and all 16 classes included in the $2,000 registration fee, it’s one of the best deals out there. All that’s left to do is register for the Level 3 Simulation Bootcamp. This can’t-miss event takes place April 16-18 in Mesa, AZ.

How Intelligent Device Monitoring Can Save Your Simulation System

How Intelligent Device Monitoring Can Save Your Simulation System 640 480 Level 3 Healthcare

Ditch Simulation System Downtime with Non-Cloud Monitoring

It used to be that the biggest threat to classroom training was a broken piece of chalk or a dead bulb in the overhead projector. As more and more medical training programs and healthcare facilities incorporate complex simulation systems and technologies, however, the number of things that can go wrong are increasing. And each of those glitches and the downtime they create can have negative impacts to classroom and training schedules and outcomes.

When a simulation system goes down, for example, classes get cancelled, and training plans and schedules fall behind. But the fix is often complicated and time-consuming. Simulation systems may include microphones, speakers, and cameras, as well as control rooms and debriefing software. For these complex systems, the best fix is the ability to identify issues early and respond to them rapidly. And that is exactly what Pulse IDM —an intelligent device monitoring system designed for the SIMStation solution—does.

The 24/7 monitoring provided by Pulse IDM can minimize problems that negatively impact the use of simulation systems and resolve issues that do arise more quickly and with less disruption to users.

Three Ways Pulse IDM Improves Simulation

  1. Proactively monitoring. Pulse IDM monitors all the devices in your simulation lab, including microphones, cameras, and speakers. By proactively monitoring each of these technologies 24/7, Pulse IDM can catch small issues before they turn into big problems, enabling Level 3 to resolve issues before they negatively impact the operation or functionality of the system. While Pulse IDM is designed specifically for the SIMStation hardware and software, it can be used with any simulation solution installed by Level 3.Lenny Convis, Director of Special Projects explains, “What makes Pulse IDM unique is that we have taken various opensource components and have tailored this system specifically for the hardware and software that we use within these simulation environments.”
  1. Increasing productivity and participation. Decreased downtime for simulation systems means you minimize training time lost to equipment failure and repairs. Proactively identifying and resolving issues that impact system functionality also eliminates user frustration that can impede consistent use of your simulation technology. Pulse IDM takes the burden of monitoring, managing, and maintaining simulation systems off the plate of IT teams and simulation techs, freeing up their time to focus on their more important strategic work. Finally, Pulse IDM performs remote system updates to minimize disruptions while the simulation system is in use.
  2. Keeping data secure. Pulse IDM is a small appliance, installed in your simulation room, that communicates directly with secure servers hosted by Level 3 Healthcare. All system monitoring is done internally, within your simulation network, keeping proprietary healthcare data out of the cloud.

Next Steps

Tired of technology glitches, system downtime, and decreased adoption of the system due to user frustration? Or hoping to avoid those things altogether? Fill out our contact form and a Pulse IDM representative will be in touch soon.

[CTA: Get 24/7 Monitoring]

3 Questions to Answer Before You Choose a Simulation Solution

3 Questions to Answer Before You Choose a Simulation Solution 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

Cheap Simulation Systems Aren’t a Bargain—Here’s Why

If you are trying to decide between two pairs of navy blue socks and one costs $5 while the other costs $25, the decision is likely a no-brainer. When it comes to comparing and choosing simulation software, however, you shouldn’t make your decision based on price alone. Unlike socks, going with a lower-priced simulation system could cost you the functionality and ease-of-use you need to meet your objectives. And low quotes on simulation systems often don’t include AV installation and other ancillary costs, so your “good deal” often ends up being more expensive in the end.

So, if you can’t choose between simulation systems based on price, what should you be looking for? Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before you choose a simulation solution.

What You Need to Know Before You Choose a Simulation Solution

  1. Does the simulation system have all the features you need? You might be enticed by a low price, but does that price include all the features you need, such as recording, control room, and debriefing room software, as well as video streaming? Are you choosing a stationary system when you could make better use of a mobile one? If you have to add components or capabilities to a system after you’ve purchased it, you’ll probably end up spending more money than you would have had you invested in a more comprehensive system in the first place. You may run into usability and compatibility issues as well. For example, SimStation provides multiple configuration options so you can get the right mix of capabilities the first time.
  2. Is the quote comprehensive? Many vendors will present the lowest upfront cost to win your business and later apply change orders for AV installation and other ancillary costs. The only way to accurately compare simulation systems based on price is to make sure those prices include all desired features, installation, maintenance, and other support.
  3. Does the simulation software meet your program objectives? It doesn’t matter how cheap your simulation system is—if it doesn’t meet your needs and objectives, you’ve wasted your budget. And not only that, but the success of your simulation program itself could be in danger if you don’t have the right system to support it. If administrators are pressuring you to make budget the key factor in choosing a simulation system, you can help them understand why functionality has to come before price. Even if it costs more upfront, a solution that supports program success will be a better investment in the long-run.

Next Steps

The Level 3 Healthcare team includes designers and technicians with years of experience. That experience means they are prepared to help you choose the simulation system features that will benefit you most in the long run, and they’ll always be upfront about how much it costs. Ready to get started? Get in touch today.

3 Ways Mobile Recording Improves Disaster Preparedness

3 Ways Mobile Recording Improves Disaster Preparedness 2000 1335 Level 3 Healthcare

How Mobile Recording Can Improve Your Disaster Training

If there’s a massive pileup on the freeway and 50 injured patients head to your emergency room, will you be ready to receive and treat them? If an earthquake damages your corporate offices, do you know how to evacuate everyone quickly and safely? If a military helicopter collides with a commercial airliner at your airport, are you prepared to coordinate a multi-agency response?

Just as simulation training has become an integral part of healthcare education, it is increasingly used in disaster preparedness training as well. Realistic and immersive disaster drills help refine processes and help healthcare professionals and other responders learn what it would really be like to respond to a large-scale disaster, whether natural or otherwise. Many hospitals even hire local actors or nursing students to play patients, complete with bloody makeup and torn clothes. But once the adrenaline has faded and the disaster has been dealt with, how do you review what went right, as well as learn from what could have gone better?

“In simulation, using video recording as a tool is invaluable,” said Brandon Phillips, a former EMT and current simulation technology and operation specialist with Level 3 Healthcare. “We can capture an entire event. We can utilize bookmarking and timestamping so we know when specific events occurred within the simulation–either things the team can improve on or that they did really well.”

Mobile recording and video debriefing have been incorporated into many simulation lab environments, the tools are currently underutilized in the disaster preparedness space. Here are three reasons that should change.

3 Reasons Your Disaster Preparedness Program Needs Mobile Recording

  1. Professionals make mistakes—but they might not know it. Even healthcare veterans can be surprised by the procedural mistakes they make and bad habits they’ve developed when they see themselves on camera. “No one likes being recorded, and no one wants to look inferior in front of their peers,” Brandon said. “But people get over it pretty quickly. Everyone has these little nuances to what they do and when they can watch themselves, they can really see what their process is.” Without the benefit of a recording of a real-time disaster response, those errors might never be detected and corrected.
  2. Disaster preparedness takes a team—and teams need to learn to work together. In real disasters, the response can involve multiple agencies including law enforcement, fire departments, search and rescue, emergency responders, and even the military. The benefit of disaster preparedness training is to give all those people a chance to practice working together. In the heat of the moment, everyone’s focus may revert to their own tasks and not the larger picture. A recording of the event gives a comprehensive view of the entire response effort and can help participants from every agency and organization see ways they can improve their collaboration—as well as see ways they worked well together.
  3. Lessons and best practices should be identified and applied immediately. Simply recording a disaster preparedness drill on a couple camera phones doesn’t facilitate immediate debriefing of the exercise. It would take hours—if not days—to sift through multiple streams of video footage to find the relevant teaching moments. Visiting participants may miss out, and if addressed days later, the impact of the simulation and value of the lesson could be gone.

Next Steps

There is a mobile recording and debriefing solution that can maximize the benefits of your disaster simulations. Level 3 Healthcare’s SIMStation Essential is the first-ever mobile high-end video-debriefing system. The solution:

  • Supports up to three cameras, two fixed and one point-to-zoom with a 30x optical zoom capability. Together these cameras—each connected to a provided ethernet cord that stretches 300 feet—can easily cover your entire simulation area, whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Features timestamping and bookmarking capabilities that allow you to easily flag parts of the simulation you want to come back to during debriefing.
  • Includes SIMStation recording and debriefing software, which can be run from a laptop or tablet.
  • Features a high-quality interface microphone to ensure the best recording quality.
  • Expands and is available in a pro version that supports an unlimited number of cameras and includes higher-resolution video. You can also opt for add-ons like a media screen so simulation participants can receive and view x-rays, lab results, or live updates from the CDC as part of the exercise.

All the Essential components fit into a 3×2-foot case, making it highly portable.

“It’s something the whole disaster preparedness community is missing out on,” said Brandon. “Having our system would be a huge help in getting your staff trained. That solidified learning that we do in simulation is kind of becoming the gold standard in terms of healthcare and learning, and our system is really great to aid with that.”

Ready to lead the way in disaster preparedness training with SIMStation Essential? Get in touch for a demo or more information today.

3 Budget Hacks for Your High-Fidelity Healthcare Simulation System

3 Budget Hacks for Your High-Fidelity Healthcare Simulation System 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

Simulation Environments for Less

If you’ve ever seen a holiday blockbuster film then you’ve probably been transported to a faraway place—a planet at the outer reaches of a futuristic solar system, backstage at a rock concert, or the front lines of World War II—maybe without even realizing it was happening.

Healthcare simulation labs require a similar suspension of disbelief for students to receive a truly immersive and effective education. There is an ever-growing body of tools that can help accomplish a high-fidelity simulation environment, including manikins, AV technology, and medical devices. But creating a seamless, realistic simulation doesn’t come cheap, and most universities and other training facilities don’t have the same budget as a Hollywood studio.

So, how can you get the tools you need to create a high-fidelity simulation experience, and how do you get them on a budget? Get your popcorn ready and keep reading to find out.

3 Steps to High-Fidelity Simulation on a Budget

There are three steps to take before you make an investment in healthcare simulation technology. Following these recommendations can help save you from unnecessary expenditures, while ensuring you have the tools and technologies you actually need.

  1. Outline the objectives for your lab. You can’t choose the right technology if you haven’t defined how it will be used. Instead of your technology dictating the curriculum, the objectives should justify the technology purchase. For example, if the goal of your lab is to teach non-emergency care, such as reading vitals or placing IVs, you don’t need a $10,000 manikin. Instead you could use real people and display their vital signs on an iPad, or invest in IV arms rather than the entire manikin.
  2. Don’t be distracted by simulation tech trends. Choose solutions you need—versus those with exciting features to save on costs and to ensure your simulation faculty won’t get distracted by the technology. For example, some simulation systems include a voice changer that can make the person speaking sound like someone else. A man can sound like a woman or an adult can sound like a child. Sure, it sounds cool, but think carefully about how much and how often you would use it. If the answer is not often, then the cost outweighs the benefit. In addition, some skills such as hand-washing and gloving, as well as taking temperatures, blood sugar, and other vital signs, are better acquired through manual learning.
  3. Think twice before you choose an all-in-one solution. While in other AV environments, such as a conference room, a packaged solution is usually more cost-effective, the same isn’t necessarily true for simulation systems. An all-in-one simulation solution creates a single point of failure—if one piece of the system goes down the entire solution becomes unusable. In addition, simulation technology is changing so fast that such solutions are at risk of becoming obsolete more quickly. Replacing one outdated piece of a system is much cheaper than replacing an entire solution.

Next Steps

You also want to make sure your installation is cost-efficient but done right. Every simulation solution requires an audiovisual installation, but not many simulation providers have AV expertise. So while a quote may seem cheap, you might have to pay the same amount again—and maybe more—to an AV integration firm. With Level 3 Healthcare you get simulation and AV expertise from the same team, making Level 3’s turnkey simulation solution a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Ready to learn more from our simulation experts about how to effectively choose and operate simulation solutions? Register for our Ultimate Simulation Boot Camp today.

Brandon Phillips Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team!

Brandon Phillips Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team! 1500 875 Level 3 Healthcare

Brandon Phillips Joins the Level 3 Healthcare Team!

We are proud to introduce you to our new Level 3 Healthcare Simulation Technology & Operation Specialist, Brandon Phillips!

Brandon is a very qualified healthcare simulation subject matter expert, offering you his experience and direction in:

  • Simulation Center Design
  • Simulation Center Organization (LEAN)
  • Moulage, Realism and Suspension of Disbelief
  • Scenario Development
  • Disaster Response
  • Simulation Management Systems

Brandon has spent the last three years as the Simulation Operation Specialist for a southern California hospital-based simulation program which supported 10 hospitals. He is an American Heart Association, Basic Life Support, Heartsaver and First Aid Instructor as well as member of the Disaster Response Team for Providence St. Joseph Health in Torrance, CA. Brandon worked on many projects within Providence ST. Joseph Health to restructure and align hospital process and organization to provide more efficient patient care and create better outcomes. Brandon is a member of SimGHOSTS and Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Additionally, Brandon has been an EMT since 2006, with four years as a 9-1-1 ambulance operator in Los Angeles County and five years in the emergency room conducting patient care. Brandon’s extensive prehospital and in-hospital care background has supported his success as a Simulation Operation Specialist.

Here at Level 3 Healthcare, we are constantly looking to expand our team in both capacity and skill set. We hand pick  professionals who have extensive simulation center and lab experience. Our team is CHSOS & CHSE certified professionals that have experience in Emergency Medical Services and Hospital Emergency Response teams. The team backgrounds includes EMT, EMT-Paramedic to Simulation Operation Managers who are passionate about finding the latest cutting edge technology for simulation labs across the nation. This ensures that our representatives understand first hand what your specific simulation center needs are. Our Level 3 Healthcare team, understands your needs because we have experienced similar trials. What is different now? We have the solution and capability to solve all your technology trials.

For more information about accompanying Brandon and our team at Level 3 Healthcare please contact us at: info@l3hc.com

 

 

4 Things to Look for in a Healthcare Simulation Partner

4 Things to Look for in a Healthcare Simulation Partner 480 360 Level 3 Healthcare

4 Things to Look for in a Healthcare Simulation Partner

Creating a functioning, respected healthcare simulation program can be a daunting task. Technology is an increasingly important part of healthcare education, but when planning a simulation lab, you’re doing more than just outfitting a building with cameras and manikins—you’re planning to meet quality, compliance, and educational standards for years to come.

A successful healthcare simulation lab will require complex technologies that must be expertly integrated. Fortunately, the right technology partner can ease the burden and help you strategize for success. However, it can be challenging to find the right technology company to help you with your healthcare simulation system. Here is what you should look for when evaluating technology integration partners:

  1. Experience in healthcare simulation.

    Ask the simulation technology professional how long they have been working in healthcare simulation, how many projects they do, and whether they have case studies, testimonials, examples, and references you can contact. Find out if they have experience in your lab’s area of specialization.
    Look for AV integration specialists who have had hands-on experience designing, implementing, and managing technology for healthcare simulation. Also ask what else they can do for you. An experienced technology specialist will know about features or services you may not even know you need.

  2. Knowledge of healthcare simulation.

    Beyond the integration aspect, look for a partner that is familiar with simulation education best practices. Technology professionals should understand the goals of both educators and students in using simulation. Those who don’t understand what goes on during a simulation, in the recording room, or in the debriefing room, won’t be able to make recommendations or configure solutions to optimize ease of use

  3. Expertise in all phases of the technology process.

    From planning to implementing and testing to supporting and managing, a technology partner should be willing and able to help at any point you need them. Look for a partner that is able to help with proposals and funding requests and that can ultimately monitor the solutions 24/7.

  4. Focus on customer satisfaction.

    The right technology partner will want to do more than just get the job done and move on. They are willing to answer all of your questions, address concerns, and help create a technology blueprint to guide future technology plans.

Next Steps

Building a new healthcare simulation facility requires a lot of planning and input from various stakeholders. If you want to know more about the phases of planning a healthcare simulation facility, download this white paper.

Download the Facility Planning & Audiovisual Technology White Paper

Why Simulation Managers Want Educator Standards

Why Simulation Managers Want Educator Standards 1096 851 Level 3 Healthcare

Why Simulation Managers Want Educator Standards

Treating a gasping patient who’s reported severe shortness of breath or a postpartum mother who’s hemorrhaging can overwhelm a nursing student. Fortunately, simulated scenarios take the risk out of practicing in such emergencies. Unfortunately, not all nurse educators are trained to plan and implement these simulations to the same standards.

Scenarios that are too advanced or not properly planned can go wrong for students by creating panic, triggering post-traumatic stress disorder, and even causing them to change their majors.

Simulation is a powerful tool in healthcare education, but without education standards, too many students won’t get the most out of these experiences. If the educators who run the simulation labs aren’t trained to uphold a certain standard, lab experience may harm students by giving them a subpar education or a negative experience with the field.

The State of Education in Healthcare Simulation

There are currently nursing organizations that recommend standards or shadowing programs or that even offer certifications, fellowships, or boot camps to properly train and prepare nurse educators for using simulation in their teaching.

However, experts like Scott Atkinson, the Simulation Technology & Operations Specialist at Level 3 Healthcare, recommend a more formal, consistent pathway to becoming a simulation nurse educator.

Without these kinds of standards, it is impossible for educators to be on the same page when it comes to everything from curriculum and level of difficulty to safety and student satisfaction.

Establishing the Simulation Standard for Nurse Educators

To begin creating a standards matrix, professionals can look at the guidelines recommended by organizations like the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and the training currently offered by organizations like the National League for Nursing.

Whether the eventual formal pathway includes some combination of specific coursework, certifications, mentoring, exams, or ongoing professional development, many industry leaders agree it’s time to hash out the details.

The Benefits of a Simulation Standard in Healthcare

Although the creation of a standard is somewhat complicated, the benefits will be well worth the effort. A standard will benefit:

  • Nurse educators by giving them career stability and assurance. Offering a formal certification or degree for nurse educators gives them confidence that their training can be used at most nursing simulation labs.
  • Nursing students by ensuring they receive the same quality of education as their peers—because they will be awarded credentials based on the same requirements.
  • Nursing schools by making it easier to evaluate whether educators have the necessary qualifications to run a successful simulation program.
  • Healthcare and patients in general by guaranteeing a quality education for nurses. Patients will be able to expect a standard level of care regardless of where they are treated because all nurses will be educated in the same way in their simulation training.

Next Steps

Simulation labs are an important investment for healthcare’s academic institutions. However, if your nurse educators lack the skills or knowledge to properly train students, much of that investment may be going to waste. If you have questions about healthcare simulation or would like to continue the conversation with an expert, email Scott Atkinson, our Simulation Technology & Operations Specialist, at SAtkinson@l3hc.com.

Nursing Education: Too Many Hats; Not Enough Heads

Nursing Education: Too Many Hats; Not Enough Heads 1200 800 Level 3 Healthcare

Nursing Education: Too Many Hats; Not Enough Heads

Many simulationists share a common issue when it comes to day-to-day operations in a simulation. The reality is, many simulation programs are understaffed, and most faculty already have more hats than they can comfortably wear.  This has many programs looking closer at the evolving simulation operation specialist role.  But where does one find someone with the skills needed without sacrificing an educator position?

The shortage of nursing educators is a well-known concern; but too often the operations specialist role(s) merely become a strategy to fund another nursing educator.  Consider roles such as simulation lab coordinator, operations specialist, operations manager; search online for these roles. Candidates are often required to be a registered nurse with a master’s degree (MSN).  A look at the actual job skills required, and it has little to do with being a nurse and everything about supporting the many layers of simulation technology: network (wired & wireless), personal computers, server(s), audiovisual, inventory management systems, scheduling systems, etc.

Nevertheless, even while operational roles continue to evolve, many undergraduate nursing programs are hiring adjuncts to bridge gaps.  While it is a great opportunity for some nurses to get their foot in the door of a university-based nursing education program; the job is still only a part-time, temporary contract position.  Universities, are at fault here. It is appalling to see how little nursing educators earn compared to what they can earn in a hospital. Nurses are wonderful people. And of all the nursing roles, the role of the nursing educator seems to be filled with the most passionate, knowledgeable and skilled people.  No one is a nurse educator because the pay is great.  It is a calling. Operations Specialists (sim techs) owe quite a bit to our educator counterparts.

The Many Hats

The many hats that nursing educators and operations specialists wear these days has created new opportunities—too often opportunities that are ignored. That is why it is surprising that the requirement that simulation operational roles still favor nurses.  Surprising not because nurses are not capable of doing the technical and operational roles, but because the demands, the many hats that are already being worn are often counter-productive to the advantages that simulation brings.  Simulation programs that have non-nurse operational staff are discovering that the diverse background that many sim techs / operations specialists bring to the program enhances everyone’s role.

Like nursing educators, operations specialists find their job rewarding, personally. However, few if any are doing the job because the pay is good.  There is a higher calling.  The biggest difference between these two groups (OSes and Nursing Educators) is that the operations specialist do NOT have a formal path to prepare for career in simulation operations.  Those educational programs that exist for simulationists are more focused on the educator roles, with the assumption that operations is embedded in the educator role(s).

The Conversation

In a recent Level 3 Healthcare webinar, Scott Atkinson and H. Michael Young were asked about the best way to prepare to do the job of an operations specialist.  The advice that was shared is echoed here: identify the gaps in the simulation program where you work and endeavor to bridge those gaps. That is harder to do than it may seem. Regardless of the job, regardless of the professional field, it is hard to recognize when we do not know what we think we know (yeah, read that a couple of times).

Some of the smartest people realize how little they really know in the grand scheme of things.  That doesn’t mean they don’t recognize what they do know, but rather it takes some uncomfortable self-evaluation to admit what one does NOT know. It is not uncommon for college students to figure out that the more they learn, the more they realize how little they do know, and that their world keeps getting more mysterious, not more comprehensible.

Principles

On a personal note, that was H. Michael Youngs experience.  He has two college degrees, a graduate certificate in simulation leadership and education and am a CHSE.  He is an, editor and subject-matter expert in the field of simulation education, operations and technology.  However, each day he is reminded by how much he still needs to learn, and he is still trying to find answers to all the questions he has, and the longer his list of questions grow.  We know we don’t have all the answers—but we also don’t know all the questions yet either. Only the foolish have all the answers. Here are some principles that have served us well, and hopefully will help you in your journey as well.

  1. Stay curious and realize that you will be learning and growing for the rest of your lives.
  2. If you are wise, you will change your mind more often than you would like.
  3. Be a servant, and you will always have a job.
  4. Make your colleagues look good in the eyes of others. It isn’t about you.
  5. Read, write and practice good communication. It is the best way for people to know you.
  6. Love, like and be generous with your time and talents.

The sooner that an operations specialist (sim tech) can identify the gaps in their own professional path, the sooner they can find ways to fill those gaps.  One thing is clear these days, you will find it difficult to find a college degree that would solely prepare you for the role of an OS.  Most agree that knowing medical terminology and anatomy are gaps that need to be bridged early in the path to becoming an OS; it is the language we speak.  The Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) was developed around communicating ideas and concepts to improve our ability to work across multiple domains: technology, education, and healthcare.  You need to know how to communicate with your IT department, your educators and clinical subject-matter experts.

Collaborate With Us

If you have read this far into this blog post, you are invited to reply on this topic.  Rather than providing you with answers to questions that you are not asking (yet), please share what you perceive to be the gaps in your own simulation program?  We are not just discussing operations here, as you may see other ways that would enhance your role in the simulation program.  At some point, your replies to this post will be reviewed and we can expand the conversation. Here are some questions that will help you get started in finding some important answers about your career; it is ok to use questions to answer these questions.

  1. What knowledge or skill(s) do you lack that would help meet a need in your simulation program?
  2. What in your own professional background has been an asset to your simulation program and should be considered for other simulation programs as well?
  3. Why did you choose to work in simulation operations and technology? (many of us stumbled on it, and it chose us)
  4. What kind of resistance have you received when trying to improve buy-in to new ideas you would like to implement?
  5. What formal education or licensing do you already possess?
  6. Is your job as an operations specialist only a step to your next goal, or have you arrived in your chosen profession?
  7. What would help you most in taking your next big step in your professional path?
  8. How many hats do you wear on a daily or weekly basis? (Is it time for more specialization in operations?)

For more information about the Level 3 Healthcare Education Matrix Webinar, Click the Video to watch and listen the full webinar.