healthcare simulation

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.

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.

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.

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation 2000 1121 Level 3 Healthcare

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation

Imagine someone sitting you down in the cockpit of an airplane and telling you to figure out how to fly it. Seems ridiculous, right? The technology is so daunting and complex, anyone who isn’t a trained pilot would need a lot of help to figure it out.

Sitting a faculty or staff member down in a simulation lab and telling them to run a scenario would be just as difficult and confusing for them—though probably not as terrifying

Without the proper training, simulation technology can be intimidating for educators. They can’t just sit down and figure it out. When faculty members are unsure of how to use a solution such as a simulation system, they are unlikely to support an organizational investment in it. They are also unlikely to use it even if the organization invests in the technology. However, removing common barriers, concerns, and misunderstandings faculty members face can help you improve buy-in and increase adoption of simulation solutions at your institution or organization.

Why Does Buy-In Matter?

Hospitals, clinics, and universities can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on simulation solutions, so the biggest incentive for increasing faculty buy-in for simulation is to make sure you are spending that money on tools educators want—and are therefore more likely to use. Part of improving buy-in and adoption also means addressing some other challenges simulation facility operators face, including a reluctance on the part of leadership to provide funding for equipment maintenance and upgrades. Another issue is often that there isn’t adequate staffing to run scenarios, troubleshoot issues, and provide training.

How Can You Increase Faculty Buy-In?

There are several steps simulation facilitators can take to increase faculty buy-in and adoption for simulation solutions.

  1. Explain the benefits. Incorporating simulated scenarios into their curriculum takes extra time and effort for faculty members, so they will be more likely to do it if they can see what’s in it for them. Benefits include:
    • A more comprehensive curriculum
    • Improved student performance
    • Easier assessment of student competencies
  2. Offer the necessary training. Faculty members who know how to use simulation technologies are more likely to incorporate simulation scenarios into their curriculum. Training should be offered more than once a year or semester and should include how to write and program a scenario, as well as how to run it. If faculty members understand all the capabilities of your simulation solution, it will be easier for them to develop scenarios that support their course objectives.
  3. Provide adequate support. Even faculty members who have been trained to use simulation solutions will run into problems they don’t know how to fix. If those issues take a long time to resolve, educators and learners will lose valuable time, and they’ll have a negative experience with the solution, making them less likely to want to use it again. Educators will have a better user experience and be more likely to use the simulation system again if you address their technical issues as quickly as possible. 

Next Steps

Level 3 Healthcare has a staff of simulation experts who can answer questions about everything from incorporating AV technology into medical training to designing a new simulation lab. Contact us today with your questions.

Quality, Seamless Integration, Ease of Use, and Timely Support: What are you willing to pay?

Quality, Seamless Integration, Ease of Use, and Timely Support: What are you willing to pay? 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Quality, Seamless Integration, Ease of Use, and Timely Support: What are you willing to pay?

Several companies have benefited from a manufacturing and service model that delivers on quality and usability.  Think for a moment, when considering computer and device innovation (for example), what computer companies do you think of that fit this characterization?  When you think of simulation AV companies, do you have the same assurance as you might with, say Microsoft or Apple? In the healthcare simulation community, many seem to have either learned to accept less from their AV solution provider. For many simulationists, they find ways to work around the deficiencies of their AV solution.  However, Level 3 Healthcare recognizes that if our customers want to enjoy a higher level of quality, reliability, and objective focused solutions, money is not necessarily related.

Level 3 Healthcare/Audiovisual (L3HC/L3AV) receives requests from potential clients that want us to provide a quote for our simulation AV solutions.  Many do not have much experience with our solutions (or any AV solution provider0, but they have heard of us. I have yet to talk to anyone who has seen and used SIMStation who did not immediately grasp that our solutions are game changers for healthcare simulation debriefing and video documentation.  But for the SIMStation software to work as designed, it must be correctly integrated and configured to work with compatible hardware.  Apple and Microsoft, for example, understand this.  It took Microsoft a little longer than Apple to come to that conclusion, but now both companies design, build and sell their own combined hardware/software solutions (MS now has their Surface line of computers and accessories).  Microsoft and Apple turn-key solutions are designed to be intuitive, and the operating systems are designed for the hardware, and the hardware is designed for the software.  Not unlike L3HC’s SIMStation line of products.

Some AV integration companies have learned this as well, but because simulation AV recording and debriefing is such a specialized setup, each system must be customized for each customer.  Interestingly, Microsoft developed their operating systems, in the beginning, solely to run on other hardware manufacturers’ systems.  The user experience varied between each computer brand, even though they all had MS WindowsTM installed.  Enter the Surface line of products from MicrosoftTM.  Quality control, hand-in-glove compatibility and consistent user-experience.  Apple adopted this approach from the very beginning.  Apple users have traditionally been the biggest fans and repeat customers of Apple products. The substance of this article is not about either of these companies.  They are just examples of the good that happens when the hardware/software designs and implementations are in sync with each other.

Regarding simulation programs, the saying goes “if you have seen one simulation program, you have seen one simulation program.” Meaning, no two simulation programs are alike. Each program has different needs and objectives.  Both Apple and Microsoft discovered that each of their companies had a better chance of controlling quality and usability if they built their own computers and developed their own software.  While both offer some compatibility with third party solutions, they have been able to maintain quality and usability of the basic system.

Level 3 Healthcare’s SIMStation software solutions are paired with high quality hardware and the highest quality standards in the industry (AV9000). SIMStation is a high-end simulation AV solution, designed with debriefing in mind.  With our competitors, many are forced to try to figure out a resolution or workaround ourselves. Level 3 Healthcare gives you a direct line to our team.  Should you need our help, even if it is user error, we are available to fix it . . . often within minutes.  Do you have that kind of relationship with your AV vendor?  Do you wait days, weeks, even months for problem resolution?

Level 3 Healthcare offers a unified software and hardware solution.  We stand by our systems, and before you buy them, experienced simulation educators, operations specialists, and engineers will work with you to make sure you understand what is included in the purchase, what it can do, what it cannot do, and ensure that the solution matches your institution’s requirements.  Upon sale, delivery and installation, we want you to be pleased with your decision and ultimately enjoy quality, seamless integration, ease of use, and timely support.  After all, our best sales people are end-users.

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt2

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt2 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt2

We invite you to read Part 1 before you begin reading this section. Part 1 is an introduction to the challenge for the simulationist in regard to cognitive load. Part 2 begins a discussion on the types of technologies that will help address these challenges. 

Part 1 assumes that you as the reader even has experience with the typical control room. The reality is that each simulation program may have the control room layout designed differently. Allow us to provide a little more context for those of you who don’t have a control room.

Facility Design Challenges

A control room will have at least one control “station” and may even have half a dozen or more. Some simulation programs have distributed control rooms that are placed in proximity to one or more simulation training rooms. A central control room that hosts all the control stations has a huge benefit in terms of facility infrastructure design (easy access to power, network, collaboration, support). However, some prefer having a one-way glass placed between the control room and the simulation training rooms so that even without an AV solution, the operator/facilitator can see what is happening in the training room. However, the reliance on glass (one way or otherwise) to see into the room also creates new challenges. If the light is too bright in the control room, learners/participants can see movement, and sometimes see clearly those in the control room, thus creating some distraction to learners and consequently to staff. Other simulation facilities with this setup struggle to see past reflections and glares on the glass. To reduce glare, or transparency, some have decided to turn lights off in the control room altogether, with no light except for the light from the computer monitors. Collaboration, note taking, and even control may be sacrificed or hampered without appropriate lighting.

So, what does facility design have to do with “cognitive load”? In part one, I made it pretty clear the types of distractions and load that a facilitator/operator has to face, and this did not even take into consideration the environment in which the simulator and AV system is being controlled. Removal of distractions in the environment are important, if not critical.

 

Distractions and Solutions:

  • Clutter: The control room and consequently, each control station should be free of clutter. Clutter could include loose papers, notes (not being used), unmanaged cables (network, power, USB, etc.)
    • Solution: each operator/facilitator should pick up after themselves and leave their station clean at the end of each session. Cables should be managed so that feet do not get tangled in them, or that counter/desktops stay neat and tidy.
  • Complex station design where multiple keyboards, pointing devices (mouse, touchpad, etc.), inconsistency between one control station and another, requiring operators to learn the uniqueness of each station, operating system, application location, etc.
    • Solution 1: standardize each control station as much as possible. Use same branding monitors and computers and input devices (keyboard, mouse, microphone, etc.). The operator/facilitator should not have to relearn how to use the hardware (and software,if possible) just by changing to a different station. Each station is typically dedicated to a single simulation training space, but different manikin models and brands may be swapped out between each one. As much as it is possible, each control station can operate any manikin owned in any of these spaces.
    • Solution 2: When multiple computers are required for a control station, reduce multiple keyboards and mice to a single keyboard and mouse by using a KM switch. Switching control between computers can be as easy as moving your mouse pointer from one monitor screen to an adjacent monitor. Adder and Avocent both offer a command and control type KM (where KM = Keyboard, Mouse) switch. These switches can support up to four computers. Avocent has a switch that is smaller where only two computers are needed, and that will save some money.
    • Solution 3: As much as possible, each computer should have the same version of operating system (Windows 10.*, MacOS, etc.) and the computer should only have software related to simulation control. I’ve seen staff members use control station computers to do their office work and sometimes install software, or plugins for the browser. This has a strong potential to create instability with the simulation control and AV software. Control Stations should only be used for control.
  • Speakers from different control stations being used where sound is blaring from one scenario and distracting other operators/facilitators in the control room.
    • Solution 1: Use headphones when other operators are in the same room and more than one scenario is being controlled. When entering the control room be discreet and considerate that your activity does not add to the cognitive load already bearing down on the facilitator/operator.
    • Solution 2: If still designing your center, and the layout of your facility supports it, use a distributed control room model, where each simulation training room has one control station in its own control room. These are smaller rooms, but you will have greater freedom to control what is happening in the space if it isn’t shared with other facilitators like a central control room. However, this does create challenges as well. There are advantages to both distributed and central control room facility design. Consider how you will use the space.

 

Do you have a challenge you would like addressed? Reach out to one of our healthcare professionals here!

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt1

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt1 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Healthcare Simulation: Cognitive Load in the Control Room Pt1

The Stage:

Let’s face it, simulation control rooms could use a huge makeover; so many distractions can overwhelm most simulationists. Cognitive load refers to the total amount of mental effort being used to accomplish a set of tasks, or just one task. The human brain can only do so much before errors become a part of the effort. So, when a typical OB simulation room has both the mother and newborn simulators, a fetal heart monitor and the mother’s vitals, it requires a means for the simulator operator/facilitator to control the progress and outcome of the scenario; this requires a lot of infrastructure at the simulation control station. In the case of an OB scenario, one person (sometimes two) is (are) required to operate a computer to control the OB simulator, another computer to control the newborn simulator, and a third computer to manage the audiovisual solution that allows the operator to see into the room from multiple angles. On top of this, some configurations may have at least one other computer that is displaying vitals in the patient room, which to some degree must be managed as well.

Behind the Curtain:

For the operator to guide the scenario, they need to be able to see and hear what learners are doing so that appropriate physiological and vocal responses can be managed. Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras may need to target another view of the room, getting another glimpse into the minds of the learners. “How many liters of oxygen did they administer to the patient?” Zoom the camera in to see what the gauge says, but oops, while the operator was doing that, the learners were doing something else in the space, but the operator missed it.

With so many computers, the operator may have to switch between several keyboards and pointing devices (mouse or touch pad). Each computer may have a different operating system, so the operator is having to migrate their attention away from assessing learners constantly, as they navigate between multiple platforms. The operator can also be the voice of the patient, or directing someone else to be the voice of the patient. A male operator uses falsetto to approximate a female patient’s higher voice. The learners giggle as they are not convinced. The learners ask the “patient” several questions, and the operator shuffles through some notes to find the correct response.

I’ve been there. It is overwhelming and at the end of the scenario, I am emotionally and physically spent. Therefore, some simulation programs utilize a subject matter expert (facilitator/educator) to help assess the learners and guide the operator, and in some cases, portray the voice of the patient. Even with two people, there is a lot to coordinate, communicate and monitor.

Scene Changes:

For those of you reading this that have facilitated a scenario using simulators, you know what it means to experience cognitive overload. Operating the scenario is only part of the cognitive load that a typical operations specialist must facilitate. Once the scenario is complete, the simulation space must be setup for the next group of learners. The simulator must be reset, and perhaps calibrated appropriately. What if a simulator has a technical issue? What if the network goes down? What if? Each interval between each scenario are as critical as the scenario itself. Are the props in place? Are supplies present and in the right quantity? This can be a logistical nightmare, as the setting must be complete and ready by the time the learners step into the scenario environment.

Any Solutions?

This post serves as introduction to a series of forth-coming posts that will attempt to address critical factors in reducing cognitive load for the operations specialist. Keep in mind that a faculty member or a simulation educator may not have the “luxury” of having a simulation technician, or operations specialist, so must function as such. This only adds another layer of distraction (cognitive load) as these professionals must think beyond the moment and consider how a scenario might fit into the overall curriculum, and how learner performance should be addressed in a safe environment during debriefing. Join us in the next article as we begin to address technological and operational solutions to cognitive overload. Have questions? Fill out this form here.

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.

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.