Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation

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.