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Anna Froemming

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.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology?

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology? 2000 1226 Level 3 Healthcare

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology?

Just as medicine continues to advance, healthcare simulation—and the standards that govern it—are also evolving. It’s important that healthcare organizations keep up, but how do you know when and what parts of your simulation technology should be upgraded?

How to Tell It’s Time for Something New

Before you can decide how extensive of an upgrade your existing simulation AV requires, you need to know how to identify if and when an upgrade is required. Here are some symptoms of an aging or ailing simulation system:

  1. Users wish it did more. Faculty, staff, administrators, and other users should continually evaluate the simulation system and make note of features and tools that don’t meet their needs or expectations. Your audiovisual (AV) system provider or integrator might be able to address some of them. The rest will be critical data points when designing the next iteration of your simulation system.
  2. You plan to scale. There are two components to successful scalability. The first is whether your current system can grow with your program as it expands and evolves. For example, your current AV capabilities may not support your plans to expand. The second component of scalability is whether your existing solutions are compatible with newer technologies. At some point, those older technologies won’t be available for replacement anymore. If you are facing frequent compatibility issues, it’s time for an upgrade.
  3. You have trouble managing and maintaining it. If you don’t have AV experts on staff who can help you maintain and update your simulation solution, consider upgrading to a system that is easier to care for and that offers ongoing management and maintenance.

If you have discovered that you need an upgrade, how do you decide what kind of upgrade you need?

 

Renovation vs. Refresh: Which Do You Need?

A refresh means replacing and upgrading outdated equipment that’s part of your simulation system. Computers usually become obsolete in about five years, and the same is also true of your core AV systems. If your simulation system can support your projected growth but needs new peripherals or components, a simple refresh is enough to bring it up to date.

A renovation not only upgrades components that need to be repaired or replaced, it also expands features and functionalities, enabling your system to be compatible with future growth and needs. A renovation is an investment. Taking shortcuts that don’t address core shortfalls in your simulation system or improve user outcomes will ultimately cost more. To best plan for a renovation, you should: start documenting issues that impact the effectiveness of your program; assess whether or not your system can scale to meet your planned and desired system growth, and; get advice from experts and plan for the long term.

 

Next Steps

Whether you are undertaking a simple refresh or preparing for an extensive simulation renovation, input from AV experts is key to your success. The simulation experts at Level 3 Healthcare are here to help. Schedule a consultation today.

3 Steps You Should Take When Planning For Your Healthcare Simulation Facility

3 Steps You Should Take When Planning For Your Healthcare Simulation Facility 1000 681 Level 3 Healthcare

3 Steps You Should Take When Planning For Your Healthcare Simulation Facility

Building out a space for a healthcare simulation center involves much more than just finding a space and the technology to put into it. How will the technology work in the space to optimize workflows? How do you ensure the use of space and technology will be intuitive and user friendly?

There are at least 430 simulation centers in the U.S., but only a fraction of those are accredited. One reason for that may be that there are a lot of needs, standards, and best practices that are overlooked, so it’s important to make sure you know what to consider from the planning phase. Here are three key steps you can take to get your simulation facility ready for success long before it opens its doors:

  1. Select the right team.
    Be strategic when involving individuals on the planning team. Consider who the stakeholders are and who will have the knowledge and experience to make the new center succeed for years to come. Look at department heads, the clinical lab managers, faculty and simulation educators, operations staff, facility managers, and IT professionals.
    You’ll want to create a diverse team with members who have a collective knowledge of design, simulation education, operations, and technology to ensure that all stakeholder and user needs and concerns are considered.
  2. Evaluate your site and others.
    Allow the team to see what the space looks like before any work starts. Also take them to visit a variety of other healthcare simulation facilities. In visiting and connecting with other simulation users and technicians you may be surprise about how they are using emerging technologies like virtual reality and 3D printing. You may discover a need you didn’t know you had.Let them see the technologies being used by other teams, and give them the opportunity to ask what those users like as well as what they wish they had done differently.
  3. Partner with knowledgeable experts and consultants.
    When looking for outside experts, audio visual integrators, and architectural consultants, be sure to ask for their experience with projects specific to healthcare simulation. How many other healthcare simulation projects have they handled from the design phase all the way through implementation and testing? And do they provide ongoing service and support?Also ask about their knowledge of simulation education best practices. A technology integrator should understand what your organization is trying to achieve and how simulation technologies will help them achieve those goals.

Next Steps

To learn more about what you should know when beginning the planning process for a simulation facility, read the “Facility Planning & Audiovisual Technology” white paper, written by H. Michael Young, CHSE, Director of Healthcare Education & Business Development at Level 3 Healthcare. The paper takes a deeper dive into how to get your simulation facility planning off to a solid start. Learn details like what to expect at each phase of the planning process. It will also talk about other necessary steps, including defining organizational objectives, learning industry standards, creating a proposal, and securing funding.

Case Study: University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah

Case Study: University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah 2000 1278 Level 3 Healthcare

Case Study: University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah

Level 3 Healthcare successfully implemented SIMStation into a four-year University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah. This center was a retrofit from an existing AV system, and Level 3 Healthcare was brought in to add a new dimension of user feedback, as well as, provide the newest technology the industry has to offer.

This Simulation Center includes a total of seventeen rooms. Six simulation rooms for capturing and using manikins, five standardized patients or OSCE exam rooms, five control stations in a centralized control room, as well as, four debriefing rooms where participants can watch the event live or playback for review, after completion.

This Simulation Center is utilizing Level 3 Healthcare’s newest web-based software interface, allowing for the seamless integration between patient exam rooms and simulation training rooms while also providing flexibility for access anywhere in the center through their network. A tablet version of SIMStation was integrated by the Level 3 Healthcare team, allowing for annotations, bookmarks, and making the software readily available for debriefing.

The L3HC team brought over 22 years of experience and, with the help of their in-house subject matter experts, was able to design a state-of-the-art facility complete with high definition PTZ cameras, wireless microphones, full tablet connectivity, mannequin control, vital sign capture, and voice modulation devices, which allow for educators to change the voice of a mannequin to be a man, woman, child, or create a completely new voice. With this solution, the university was able to greatly improve their workflow management and increase their technology capabilities for years to come.

The simulation facility included:

SIMULATION ROOMS (6 TOTAL)

Each simulation room consists of two (2) PTZ cameras with zoom, two (2) video encoders for capturing vital signals or other compatible video devices and includes a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space. Each room will use an wall plate for connecting a portable speaker for in-room Voice of Patient (VOP), and one (1) wireless microphone. The wireless microphone can also be used for private communication between the control room, Voice of Trainer (VOT) and the simulation room.

EXAM ROOMS (5 TOTAL)

Exam rooms each include two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom, a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space, an wall plate for connecting a portable speaker for in-room Voice of Patient (VOP), and one (1) wireless microphone. The wireless microphone can also be used for private communication between the Voice of Trainer (VOT), control room and the exam room.

OPEN BED LAB (2 TOTAL)

The open bed labs consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. Each lab has a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space.

WET/DRY TRAINING ROOM (2 TOTAL)

Each room is equipped with a client provided display to allow for live viewing of the training rooms. Wet room 1 shall consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. Each room includes a single ceiling microphone and a single ceiling speaker for communication from control space.

MED STATION (HALLWAY)

The med station in the hallway shall consist of (2) two PTZ cameras with optical zoom, one (1) ceiling speaker and one (1) ceiling microphone for communication from control space.

CONTROL STATION 1-SIMULATION ROOMS (4 TOTAL)

Each control space shall consist of a touch PC to run SIMStation software and control cameras and source selection. Two (2) desktop microphones shall be provided allowing an operator to speak to the simulation room, a confidant via their earbuds, or VOP. Desktop speakers are provided as well as three (3) headphone ports for discrete listening. A tablet is available for each station to remotely add notes to simulations. Each control station will include a telephone capture device. A voice changer device will be included for each control station. This will allow for voice modification to the connected room.

CONTROL STATION 2 EXAM ROOM RECORDING (1 TOTAL)

This control space shall consist of a dual touchscreen system with PC to run SIMStation multi-room software and control cameras and source selection. This station is specific to OSCE or multi-room type capture where all exam rooms shall be captured at one time. Two (2) desktop microphones shall be provided allowing an operator to speak to the simulation room, a confidant via their earbuds, or VOP. Desktop speakers are provided as well as three (3) headphone ports for discrete listening. A tablet is available for each station to remotely add notes to simulations. Each control station will include a telephone capture device. A voice changer device will be included for each control station. This will allow for voice modification to the connected room.

HEAD END SYSTEM

The head end system shall consist of a server-grade PC to transcode video, audio, and act as a central storage device for an interim period. All IP switches and audio processing shall also be housed at this head end rack. A rack is provided, but equipment can be integrated into an existing IT rack if enough space is available. Central network location to be determined later.

DEBRIEFING ROOM (4 TOTAL)

Each debriefing space is equipped with a client provided display to allow participants to view the debriefing software. Inputs to the display are the debriefing PC by default. Each debriefing space will consist of one (1) PTZ camera with optical zoom. Debriefing room 1 will consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. This will be controlled via the provided tablet or wireless mouse/keyboard. An HDMI input plate is also provided for each room for auxiliary input sources. This will automatically take over the debriefing PC when plugged in. Ceiling speakers are provided to cover the entire room evenly with audio.

PULSE IDM

The Level 3 Audiovisual intelligent device monitoring (IDM) solution—Pulse—has been specifically designed to monitor the SIMStation product. The solution often includes a simulation lab or room, a control room, and a debriefing room where students and teachers can evaluate what happened in the simulations.

The Pulse monitoring device is a small appliance that monitors only the devices in your simulation rooms. It communicates securely to the Level 3 Healthcare data center through an outbound connection, thereby eliminating firewall concerns. The monitoring center servers are not on the cloud but self-hosted at the center where the servers analyze incoming data, and technicians can immediately respond to issues.

From resetting devices to their default or standard settings—like mic volume, camera position, etc.—to arranging an on-site support visit, Pulse services monitor and address device performance issues. The goal is to minimize problems that would affect the client’s use of the SIMStation and reach a resolution more quickly.

Since Pulse is specifically designed to monitor SIMStation devices and software, it can more efficiently identify and address issues.

 

Next Steps

For more information about this project, or pursuing a project for your own simulation lab. Please call 1-877-777-5328.

4 Ways to Optimize Time as an Operation Specialist

4 Ways to Optimize Time as an Operation Specialist 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

4 Ways to Optimize Time as an Operation Specialist

A new hire, a simulation technician for an undergraduate simulation program, attended a manikin vendor’s class on programming scenarios.  She had already been working for many years in various IT roles, so learning the technology used in simulation was an exciting opportunity. The course was attended by over 15 nursing and EMT educators; they were almost salivating at the possibility of one day getting “their own” technician.  These educators had become keenly aware of the demands placed on them in addition to the courses they taught and related responsibilities, and now they were learning a relatively new technology. Before leaving, the simulation technician received several polite invitations to come work for their programs; in the same breath of the invitation was the expression of frustration that they did not have the funds or administrative will to further staff the simulation facility. 

Fortunately, the role of the simulation operations specialist (OS) has evolved quite a bit. Technicians can now earn professional certification in their field (CHSOS) and enjoy key leadership’s appreciation of the importance of the role—so the “will” now exists.  Salaries for the OS roles has improved but not enough to keep their OSs more than two or three years (generally speaking).  When an operations specialist leaves their job, they take their skills, knowledge and experience with them, often leaving a void in the program. 

So, how can simulation program leadership keep their highly qualified operations specialists from moving on to another simulation job? Time.  Time is the most valuable commodity for anyone, but it is also relatively cheap to distribute that commodity in a way that provides value to the simulation program, the operations specialist, and of course, leadership. Even if the budget doesn’t allow for a career-worthy salary, professional development and the time to do it provides a lot of value and satisfaction to the operations staff.  So, how can leadership enrich the operations specialists’ jobs? 

Protected Time 

This may seem strange for what often passes as an entry-level job for many simulation technicians. Providing protected time gives staff the breathing room, during the work week to read articles, simulation books, perhaps write blog posts or engage in discussions with other simulation professionals on organizational forums.  How does this benefit the simulation program? If the OS is not squandering their time playing online games or working a cross-word puzzle, then he/she can learn about new ideas, innovations, develop relationships with other OSs at other simulation programs.  We live in a connected community, so the time we protect can encourage a connection with the greater simulation community. These connections produce opportunities for mentoring, whether your OS is mentored, or is mentoring, either provides an opportunity for professional growth. 

Staff Training 

So many times, educators are invited to attend on-campus training provided by vendors for new simulation equipment, but the simulation technician is not invited.  Such courses are usually limited to a dozen or less, so leadership makes sure that the educators are first in line.  Hard to believe.  The hope is that the faculty “buy-in” to simulation by attending such courses, and for some, it is the nudge that they need.  However, it can also harden faculty resolve to not adopt simulation.  Simulation program leadership would do well to adopt a policy to train superusers first, and they will pass their knowledge on to educators and staff who want to learn more. It doesn’t take long for an OS or simulation technician to become discouraged when they are left out of valuable training.  To avoid frustrating staff, they should be included in training opportunities and be valued as a resource for busy educators who have no desire to dig into the technology itself, but rather want their students to learn.  The educators can then focus their expertise on scenario design and participant assessment/evaluation. 

Time to Learn, Time to Teach 

Too often faculty show up in the control room and communicate their intentions about the simulation activity—sometimes as it is being facilitated. This is a poor practice and only demonstrates the need for consumers of the simulation resources to learn about best practices, and to understand the role of the operations specialist in assisting subject-matter experts (faculty). A simulation technician should be extended the courtesy of having time to learn about the objectives of a scenario, and perhaps even participate in the development of the activity.  Such an intimate knowledge of the scenario and expectations of the educator will improve everyone’s experience.   

Some programs have policies and procedures that prescribe the appropriate amount of lead time and knowledge needed before a scenario can be validated as ready for implementation.  Many programs require at least a week or two to develop a scenario concept into a finished scenario. Other programs recognize that a large undergraduate program with dozens if not hundreds of educators may overwhelm a small staff with constant preparation and validation of new scenarios. Consequently, at least one program required that all scenario design requests not be fulfilled until the following term. 

Many operations specialists find themselves becoming teachers.  Whether the OS teaches new faculty and staff about the simulation technologies and operational policies, or they are called upon to oversee and teach students about the various skills prescribed in the curriculum.  All of this takes time, and without that time it is difficult for anyone to be prepared to engage in such activities.  Preparation time should be built into everyone’s schedule, including the operations specialists. 

With the development of the Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist exam(s), subject-matter experts in operations and technology insisted that some knowledge of instructional design concepts be assessed, even for those who are not expected, or allowed, to “teach.” The realization was that technicians could better support educators if they understood the theories behind the activities being planned. Ultimately, an experienced OS will teach—probably informally, but nevertheless they will teach learners, for example, how to use virtualized scenarios on PCs, teach new staff about the operations of the center, and perhaps even write policies and procedures recommendations. An understanding of educational concepts will improve their chances for success. 

In Conclusion 

The time has come where entry-level technicians and experienced operations specialists know they must plan for their careers.  Up until recently, there were not many opportunities to nurture their careers to be anything more than a low-level technician. Not all operations specialists or technicians are fresh out of school, more and more specialists are older and transitioning into another phase of their lives.  Because there are not many formal pathways for earning a degree to prepare for the role of an operations specialist, and those that do exist are limited to a certificate or associates degree. For operations specialists that have been working in that role for a while, the idea that the CHSOS requires a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) is offensive.  They are already doing the work, why go into debt to learn what they have already learned?  However, for the future of the role to become a professional pathway to a fulfilling career, young adults may not learn everything on the job. Courses and degrees, just as provided for other professions (such as accountants, educators and technologists) will be necessary to give a clear pathway and evidence of expertise.  Combined with experience over time, the professionalization of the simulation technician can be realized. 

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size 1900 1082 Level 3 Healthcare

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size

There are plenty of times when size matters. A bite-sized candy bar won’t always satisfy a sweet tooth and a small business can’t always compete with larger players in their industry. For healthcare simulation programs, however, even a small team with limited funding can succeed just as well as their bigger counterparts. The key is to follow industry-designated best practices.

The International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) recently released Standards of Best Practice for Simulation. Adhering to the standards of operation in particular can make any size simulation program sustainable, while also increasing the return on the investment made in simulation technology; improving outcomes, and; bringing students, educators, and leaders closer to their goals and objectives.

Best Practices to Support Your Small Simulation Program

  1. Define a strategic plan. With an easy-to-follow plan that clearly outlines goals, roles and responsibilities, and desired outcomes, a simulation program can run smoothly even with a small staff. Also address plans for on-the-job training, program evaluation, and how to measure ROI and justify ongoing expenditures. Develop a communications strategy and make provisions for equipment maintenance and replacement.
  2. Empower personnel. Every team member should have the training necessary to set up, operate, and maintain simulation equipment independently if needed. Others who use the equipment—such as educators and trainers—should also be trained to operate it independently. This ensures there is no interruption in simulations and helps relieve some of the pressure on a small team that may already be stretched thin.
  3. Create a management system. In addition to an overarching strategic plan, every simulation-based education program needs a day-to-day plan for scheduling rooms, prioritizing requests, managing operator availability, and setting up and breaking down equipment for simulation exercises. Written instructions for each scenario help ensure operators know what to do and that everyone is following the same system so that educators and students can meet their instructional objectives. Periodically review and seek user feedback on the system to improve as needed.
  4. Manage the budget carefully. The budget requirements of a simulation-based education program go beyond the initial investment in tools and technology. Consider training and operational costs, such as staff salaries. Equipment costs include maintenance, repair, and replacement expenses. Simulation operators can also consider income opportunities to support the program. For example, they can rent the simulation space when it’s not being used internally.
  5. Align the program with organizational goals. The simulation program should be guided by the needs and goals of the organization as a whole. This will increase leadership buy-in and might also allow you to tap into personnel and budgetary resources from other programs or departments. Communicating with stakeholders and participating in initiatives across departments will help integrate the simulation program into the larger organization’s mission, goals, and operation.
  6. Develop sustainable policies and procedures. Create guidelines for everyone people who might use the lab, including instructors, students, visitors, volunteers, etc. Document easy-to-follow guidelines for processes and procedures like data collection and storage, as well as safety information and scheduling guidelines.

Next Steps

Even if your team is small, there are additional resources at your disposal. Our Level 3 Healthcare team can answer your questions, assist in implementing your plan, and help your simulation program succeed. Schedule a consultation today.