AV Systems

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.

Introducing Pulse IDM, A 24/7 SIMStation Monitoring Option

Introducing Pulse IDM, A 24/7 SIMStation Monitoring Option 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Why Healthcare Simulation Technology Is Vital

The first time a doctor has to resuscitate a patient, there’s a lot less riding on the outcome if the patient was never alive to begin with. Simulation training in healthcare allows students to learn with less pressure and more opportunities to hone their skills before they use them in a real healthcare setting.

Simulation systems are made up of numerous components that require monitoring, management, and maintenance. Your IT department can handle all of this for your organization’s simulation labs, or you can use a service that provides intelligent monitoring.

Without sufficient monitoring, devices can fail, resulting in canceled classes, blown schedules, and training plans falling behind. Organizers must reschedule classes, and with 15 to 20 students and observers in each class, equipment failure can be extremely disruptive.

A dedicated monitoring solution will prevent ill-timed device failures and provide more timely resolution should something go wrong.

Keeping Your Simulation Solution Healthy

If one of the cameras stops working in your simulation lab or center, will you know it before someone tries to use it? Will you know if it has simply gone offline or if only it is the device that has stopped responding? Is it experiencing an error?

Proactive monitoring will help prevent interruptions and delays often by correcting issues before anyone at the facility is even aware there was an issue. To find a solution that can be thorough, effective, and proactive, look for these features:

  • Secure communications
  • System updates
  • Automated failure recovery
  • Trends and utilization reporting
  • Customization and add-ons
  • Monitoring all simulation station hardware and software

The right solution for your organization will depend on the size of your simulation programs, the capacity of your internal resources, and the importance of your programs functioning and staying online at all times.

Specialized Intelligent Device Monitoring

The Level 3 Healthcare 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 simulation room will feature devices like multiple cameras, microphones, and a speaker system. The control room will contain a compact server-case to house AV technology, recording software that is controlled by touchscreens, and a microphone for communication with other rooms. The debriefing room contains necessary software, displays for reviewing recordings, and a SIMStation tablet for control.

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’s 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

The Pulse IDM solution for SIMStation requires little to no interaction from the end user and eliminates the need for the IT department to monitor and maintain the hardware and software thus improving ROI of the simulation solution. Plus, the organization can confidently keep their training and simulation programs running smoothly and on time.

Contact us below if you have any questions about SIMStation or remote monitoring solutions.

Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation

Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation

“How much training do I need to operate the AV system?”

This is the first question I asked myself when starting at a healthcare simulation center. From working with patient simulator’s and skill trainers to programming vital signs and scenario’s, healthcare simulation can have a big learning curve for those just starting out in this field. The area I felt needed the majority of focus was navigating AV systems in healthcare simulation.

Before I started in my career in simulation I had a pretty good understanding of the many A/V components that are commonly used in simulation centers. I knew the difference between an HDMI, and VGA cable, I setup my own entertainment system, and even connected a Wi-Fi camera for my home. But I quickly found myself asking, “What is a DSP (Digital Signal Processor), a signal converter, PTZ camera, among other things”? The list of components and knowledge needed seemed to continuously grow, while every upgrade and new purchase required more learning and understanding.

My first experience working a portable video-capture system unfortunately was not a positive one. Frequent failures and phone-calls to tech support only further cemented the feeling that I lacked the training to successfully use this technology. Could it really be this difficult to use? Is the problem the equipment or is it user-error? These questions circled in my head for weeks on end. I researched different degrees to increase my knowledge in this area. Pursuing an additional degree is an option however A/V is just one part of healthcare simulation. I often hear the expression “we use the experts in different areas to provide specific knowledge, as it would be impossible to know everything.” I decided to take a different approach and use the resources provided by experts in this field.

Technology plays a very important role in simulation. While the benefits are widely known, we often see the frustrations and problems when the technology we need to do our jobs fails us. However, I quickly learned that having a complex A/V setup doesn’t mean the answer will also be complex. Communication and training are key to ensuring a smooth operation. Having a company send out not only an expert in A/V but also be a great teacher can be the difference between success and failure. What good is all that knowledge if it is not shared with those who need it most; the ones working in the day-to-day operations?

When presented with a training on a A/V system here are some important questions to ask:

  1. What can I do before I call tech support? Having a checklist will aid in trouble-shooting. Sometimes the answer is turning the power off, and then back on.
  2. What are the common problems that may arise from this setup? Know where problems are likely to occur can help find a solution quicker.
  3. If you do not understand, ASK! Assuming to know what each equipment and function is will only add to frustration when trouble-shooting later.

When dealing with an A/V system it is important to remember that issues will happen from time to time. No system is perfect. Although additional training/degree will always benefit you, it is not required to be able to trouble-shoot a problem. Taking the time to setup on-site training, ask questions, and always pursue additional learning will ensure continued success in the years to come.