audiovisual integration

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.

How Do You Get Certified for Simulation?

How Do You Get Certified for Simulation? 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

How Do You Get Certified for Simulation?

Getting certified for simulation isn’t what you think.

Simulation certification is still very new to Healthcare. As the simulation community has grown, defining the standards to ensure someone is qualified to perform a specific task has been at times, challenging. Since healthcare simulation centers can be found in pre-hospital programs, hospital-based programs, nursing schools, and medical schools the challenge is setting standards for certification that can be applied to all the different job environments. As the profession for simulation technicians and specialist has grown so has the movement to establish this group within the structure of simulation programs. Typically, physicians, nurses, and educators have filled most of the roles in a simulation center.

In May 2015, I had the opportunity to take the Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) exam. I met the application requirements and passed the exam. I joined approximately 60 others having this certification on a national level. I also have the privilege of being part of the committee to define the standards for CHSOS. Since then I have received many inquires into how the certification has benefited my work.

Why do I need a certification?

A simple job search for healthcare simulation jobs will bring you to a list of potential employment opportunities. The majority of these jobs require prior experience or education in a healthcare simulation program. For someone looking for new employment opportunities or trying to improve their knowledge and demonstrate competency, becoming certified is a step in the right direction. The same reason for pursing certification would apply if you were seeking a job as an electrician or an Emergency Medical Technician, you must be able to demonstrate needed knowledge and skills for the position you are seeking. Currently certifications are offered by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). The certifications are broken down for different specialties. For the educator, Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) and for the operations specialist, Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS).

What benefits does certification provide?

As with any specialized job, having a certification greatly benefits you as a job seeker, and will also benefit the employer by your ability to demonstrate a higher knowledge for the position. Pursuing certification allows you to be exposed to subjects and different methods you may have not been previously exposed to during your employment, bringing you out of your normal comfort zone. Each simulation center is different, and therefore the centers cannot cover all methods or technology available on the market. Being exposed to new ideas, best-practices, and technology will only increase your knowledge, skill set and awareness. Overall the healthcare simulation community has not officially adopted the certification to be a “requirement” for employment. However, I have come across many job postings specifically mentioning CHSE, CHSOS for preferred candidate background. The medical community values higher education, advanced licensures and specialists. Certification allows you to stand out from the crowd. Another potential benefit of certification is higher pay. Certification may allow you to seek higher compensation from your employer for completing advanced knowledge and skills. Wages for the simulation technician have not been on par with the level of education, and training that has been typically required for the positions. This subject continues to be discussed on a national level. Adding a certification to your CV will only help you with current and future employment opportunities.

Are there any other options for advanced training, education, or certifications?

There are several options when pursuing additional training, education, or certification. There are several colleges looking at implementing associates degree programs for simulation technicians. The University of Akron is looking to add a 2-year degree in “Healthcare Simulation Technology,” focused on developing students for a role as a simulation technician. The program was expected to start in Spring 2016. There are several university’s offering a Masters-level degree, but there are very few options for Bachelors or Associates degrees.

Attending local and national conferences is another avenue to receiving advanced training. There are many conferences to choose from; some are industry led others are provided by healthcare organizations. Before attending, research what the classes and content will cover. Look for any certifications that are offered or if any prep-classes for certification exams will take place. It is important to remember attending a conference requires approval, funding, and transportation. Like many centers, staff may only be allowed a limited number of conferences per year. Planning and doing your research will ensure you receive the most relevant certification for the type of work you are seeking. If you do not find the conferences offer enough training, or information, take the time to provide that feedback to the organizers for future planning.

There are specialized courses being offered for simulation technician training from Wiser, United Heart Training Center, and Northwestern University, to name a few. Costs vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on length and location. The length of courses ranges from a few days to a several weeks. Most of the courses provide a certificate for attending. These courses can provide information in preparing for the CHSOS certification exam. It is not a requirement to attend these classes prior to applying for the CHSOS exam.

It is important to remember that nothing is guaranteed by receiving a certification. There are many options for training, education, and seeking an industry-backed certification. Explore all options available to you. Being involved with healthcare simulation we all know learning never stops. We should all strive to achieve more within our chosen professions.