Developing a Strong Simulation Operations Team

simulation staff development

Earlier this week I posted on The Most Common Mistake in Simulation Operations Hiring. There has been a lot of support for this article by both simulation community members and vendors alike! We continue this discussion with a recent poster entitled “Super Technical Teams: Continuing Professional Development to Support Sim Ops” from IMSH 2014 by Nicole Jones de Rooy, who works for the School of Medicine’s Simulation Program at Australia’s Griffith University.

Nicole reminds us that:

“Simulation Centres recruit staff from a variety of backgrounds – including people with distinct educational, clinical, technical and administrative skillsets. In practice, roles have been blended, and staff routinely find that they need to bridge multiple skillsets to complete their duties. 

These circumstances and the demands of keeping the magic going1 has seen individuals try to step up and address their individual needs with varying success or support. Circumstances force these staff to develop their missing knowledge in an ad hoc manner through trial and error and over time job satisfaction can decrease. 

As Simulation Centres grow in size and complexity, questions of their long-term staffing needs come to the fore. Only through a strong cooperative and collegial inter-professional culture and a more formal system of professional development, particularly for staff from technical backgrounds, will future success be assured. 


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The author’s experience across several organisations informs a basic taxonomy of approaches for guiding the professional development of Simulation Centre staff, including: following student learning; inter-professional coaching and cooperation; mentoring; and formal training offered by associated institutions. Differing approaches will be suitable for organisations with different needs and budgetary capabilities. 

It is paradoxical that Simulation Centres, which are entirely focused on the professional development of their ‘customers’, are often not conscious of the role that professional development must play in the long-term delivery of their services. As well as looking outwards, Centres must looking inwards towards the skill set and skill mix of their staff. “

Nicole then helps us identify the roles involved, and plan for action steps to continue professional development and education with, or without, a budget!

You can download the entire Sim Tech Ops Poster by Nicole Jones de Rooy here!

Nicole has also put together some wonderful “scoop.it” online digests for Simulated Learning Environments and Workforce Training, which you should also really check out!


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