Free Webinar 2PM ET TODAY: ‘How to Affordably Increase Sim Lab Technical Staff’ Hosted by Education Management Solutions

healthcare simulation webinars

Course Title: How to Affordably Increase Sim Lab Technical Staff

Time: Recorded in October, you can now watch this recorded webinar through SimulationIQ.com

Presented by: HealthySimulation.com Founder Lance Baily

As an entrepreneur, medical simulation industry thought leader, media producer, and EMS/firefighter, Lance has the background and the experience necessary to guide simulation-based projects to the next level. Lance has served as a Simulation Technology Specialist in Los Angeles, and from 2009 to 2012, the Director of the 31,000 ft. multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas (CSCLV). Lance is the founder of:

  • HeathySimulation.com – Free medical simulation resource website
  • HealthySimAdmin.com – Recorded sessions on simulation program administration
  • SimGHOSTS.org – Annual hands-on training events and online resources for simulation technology specialists
  • Konsiderate.com – Community-written ratings & reviews of medical simulation products & services.

Abstract: Expanding your sim lab technical staff is a must for short and long-term simulation program success. This session will explore why hiring a Sim Tech is such a crucial step toward increasing simulation lab operational efficiency and learning quality. Maximize your budget through staff analysis of your technology-based simulation lab and then learn how to increase simulation staff in cost effective steps with proven techniques!

About EMS:


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simulationiq

Education Management Solutions (EMS) is an industry pioneer in simulation-based solutions for healthcare training environments – ranging from clinical simulation management software and hardware to counselor education, and case authoring and interactive computer-based training tools. Working alongside subject matter experts, we serve as the driving force behind numerous consumer-centered innovations that continue to move the clinical simulation market forward with breakthrough technologies.

We understand that clinical simulation is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a learning necessity – and without the proper clinical simulation management tools it can be overwhelming to manage. Our SIMULATIONiQ solution is the only intelligent operating platform that brings together all the programs, people and processes into a single, simplified view that saves time, improves clinical outcomes and delivers peace of mind. When we use the phrase industry pioneer, we mean it. Operating out of our world headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania, we were founded in 1994 and boast 15 years of experience providing state-of-the-art technology for clinical education and training environments.

As we continue to expand our product offering to meet the evolving needs of our customers, we’re experiencing unprecedented success. In fact, over the past three years alone, we’ve seen an annual growth rate of more than 159%. We’re turning heads both within the industry and in the mainstream business community. For the past eight years we’ve been named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the USA, and also garnered accolades on Deloitte Technology’s Fast 50 and Fast 500 lists as a leading technology company in Greater Philadelphia and North America respectively, as well as one of the Top 100 companies in the Philadelphia-New Jersey-Delaware region.

An unparalleled number of firsts make our software the benchmark by which all others are judged. The SIMULATIONiQ solution is the preferred choice for a growing international community of clinical simulation management customers, including Centra Health; Christiana Care Health System; Weil Cornell Medical College, Qatar; The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners; National University of Singapore; Swedish Medical Center; and The University of Hawaii at Manoa. Institutions big and small trust us to deliver the solutions they need to drive greater visibility, usability, marketability, adaptability, scalability, measurement, and ROI.

To Watch This Free Online Event Visit the EMS Webinar Website


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The Ultimate Job Guide to Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists

healthcare sim tech

About once a week I get an email from a simulation champion asking about the position, job description, responsibilities, hiring, career path or administration of a Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist. Because of the frequency of this question I have started to compile a list of TOP posts we have shared here on HealthySimulation.com regarding this specific topic. Of course, the #1 source for Sim Tech information is SimGHOSTS.org, but below is a great place to also get started on the topic!

First, check out this DACUM Simulation Job Analysis work accomplished California Healthcare Workforce Initiative

Simulation Technology Specialist  Job analysis in MS Word for technician working with high fidelity patient simulation manikins.

Simulation Program Coordinator  The Simulation Program Coordinator is a healthcare professional who is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of the integrated simulated clinical experiences to enhance participants learning outcomes.

Below is the Material HealthySimulation.com has written or recorded on the Topic of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists:

  1. What to REALLY look for When Hiring a Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist – Speaks to the types of backgrounds and skill-sets that work well as Sim Techs.
  2. Avoid the Number One Sim Tech Hiring MistakeDon’t jeopardize your program by hiring for the wrong position, this article extensively covers the question: Why Do Healthcare Simulation Programs Hire Sim Techs Without Technical Backgrounds?
  3. Community Feedback Agrees: Sim Techs Need Technical Background – Lots of community response regarding the article above in support of the conversation.
  4. How to Start a Career as Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist – Want to get a job as a Sim Tech to operate Healthcare Simulation Technology? Do you have a background in IT, technology, AV, healthcare, theater or education and want to change careers? Are you interested in using your technical experiences to help train healthcare professionals? Check out this 1 hour webinar provided by Lance Baily, founder of HealthySimulation.com about how to start a career as a Sim Tech!
  5. Best Practices For Medical Simulation Hiring: The goal with hiring for your simulation-based positions is to not necessarily find candidates with the most simulation experience, nor even the most medical experience, but rather the person who has demonstrated the most passion for the position. No matter how strong the core of your simulation program is, we are talking about a technology and methodology that will continue to evolve and disrupt your training program. Thus, finding individuals who are comfortable with change and go to work everyday looking to “learn something new” will far far better serve your program.
  6. Great Interview Questions When Hiring a Sim Tech – Specifically looking to hire a Medical Simulation Technician? Read this practical guide  for hiring individuals to run your medical simulation lab technology.
  7. Simulation in Healthcare Education, A Best Evidence Practical Guide – Dr. Barry Issenberg, Director of the Gordon Medical Simulation Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and co-author of AMEE Guide #82 “Simulation in Healthcare Education: A Best Evidence Practical Guide PART-2″ reminds us here of the importance of considering the practical implementation of medical simulation.
  8. Stream 15 Hours of Sim Lab Administrative Content – Hundreds of Sim Lab Managers from around the world have watched this “How-To” content of Medical Simulation Administration.
  9. How to Increase Sim Lab Staff without Increased Budgets – Imagine having four extra staff members to help with the hands-on work necessary to make a special event run smoothly, or additional sim techs to help run multiple labs at the same time.  Expanding your medical simulation staff support can be easier and more affordable than you think.  To find out how read this article!
  10. Medical Simulation Staff Needs? Webinar on Program Development – Overcoming the challenges of being a medical simulation program administrator. New resources for managers of simulation labs, simulation technicians, developing a collaborative simulation program, expanding your simulation program within your organization and with external partners, staff needs regarding moving into a new building and weekly operations, developing new policies and modifying old ones and scheduling suggestions for simulation labs.

HealthySim’s Top 10 Most-Read Medical Simulation Articles Of All Time!

What are the 10 most popular medical simulation articles out of our 500 posts written? Today I updated the “Top 10 Most Read Articles” category on the right column of HealthySimulation.com, and thought we should bring it to your attention here!

top healthcare simulation articles

10. How to Produce a Sim Lab Video Orientation – Learn how to produce sim lab orientation and sim lab promotional videos with this tutorial set. Be sure to read part 1 where I talk about the numerous benefits and reasons behind producing your own videos and where to get help. In part 2, I cover how to start your production with camera, lighting, and sound tips from my fifteen years of production experience!

9. Top 50 Best Of Medical Simulation Articles of 2013 – A newer article, this post provides a giant recap of all the best content from HealthySimulation.com shared in 2013. If you are looking to get caught up with all the latest – this is the best place to start!

8. CAE Healthcare Topics – A general breakdown of all CAE Healthcare related articles we have ever published on the website.

7. Laerdal Topics – A general breakdown of all the Laerdal related articles we have ever published on the website.

6. What to Really Look For When Hiring A Sim Tech – One of the first articles I ever wrote for HealthySimulation.com talks about the benefits to hiring a Simulation Technician with technical experience over healthcare experience. Must – read for all simulation champions!

5. Top 50 Best Of Medical Simulation Articles of 2012 – Having been available longer, this list of “best of” material from 2012 ranks high on our list of most read content! Get caught up to speed quickly with this great breakdown list of must read articles!

4. Simulab Video Series – Learn all about Simulab and their TraumaMan & CentraLineMan products with this post. A comprehensive video collection of interviews and in-situ footage captured around the United States by our team. If you only have time for one, check out the LSU Surgical OR Team TraumaMan Training Mini-Documentary!

3. Moulage : Bridging the Gap in Simulation – Written by guest author Bobbie Merica, get introduced to moulage tools, books, recipes, courses and uses! When you are ready for more, check out our general moulage section, or the most read moulage recipe: Emesis Vomit Moulage!

2. Medical Simulation Jobs Listing Page – Looking for a new simulation job, or would you like to get your position posted? Check out this regularly updated list for all the latest jobs we know about!

1. Three articles on where to get some free medical simulation scenarios:

A) “And, Scene!” – Some Great Places to get Simulation Scenarios (even FREE)

B) More Free Nursing Simulation Scenarios

C) Additional Free Nursing Simulation Scenarios

There you have it! Be sure to subscribe to our free monthly email newsletter to get all the best of HealthySimulation.com!


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Why Do Healthcare Simulation Programs Hire Sim Techs Without Technical Backgrounds?

Doctor-Hand

*UPDATE* – A huge number of responses agreeing with this article can be read here!

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Last week I received this email from a HealthySim reader who wished to remain anonymous regarding a concern that medical simulation programs seem to lean towards hiring for clinical experience rather than technical experience:

Dear Lance,

We’ve never actually met, but I’ve followed your stuff for a long time on HealthySimulation.com.

I’ve been a Sim Tech for about a year and a half coming out of a education and engineering background. Being a Sim Tech is fun and rewarding in its own rite, but the pay and the current role that I play at my current institute is terribly low and underplayed, respectively. I’ve noticed more Sim Centers looking for some medical credentials in Operations level candidates so that also makes it tough to move on. This is the current view of the facility I work at as well.

What advice can you offer to those of us who see a future in Simulation, but seem to be hitting a brick wall in terms of advancement? 

Sincerely,

HealthySim Reader

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Well HealthySim Reader, know that you are not alone in your insights above and that this staffing issue has been a topic of discussion for many years now. Way back in 2010 when HealthySimulation.com started, one of the first articles I wrote was entitled “What to REALLY Look for When Hiring a Sim Tech“. There, among other tidbits of opinion I shared the following:

“Over the past two years I have spoken to dozens of nursing departments looking to hire a simulation technician for their labs. I am always surprised to learn when these groups require applicants to be a registered nurse. I remind them to consider that they already have plenty of faculty who understood the nursing process, but what they didn’t have was someone with years of advanced computer hardware, programming, and A/V experience. Stretching their team to include a team member with a completely different set of skills, especially ones that their department was critically lacking, would expand the whole department’s ability to utilize simulation. “

In another article written two years ago entitled “Top 5 Questions I Am Asked About Managing a Medical Simulation Program” I was asked by IT directors “When can do I get to stop supporting the medical simulation program on campus – I have fixed 80% of the issues but the remaining 20% never seems to go away?”. There I remind us that the “remaining 20% is what ongoing maintenance through updating, debugging, reinstalling, backing up, de-fragging, cleaning, and generally operating is what a permanent Sim Tech all about. Running a medical simulation program means dealing with technology, which is rapidly changing and usually unstable.  Hiring a Sim Tech is worth every penny – and then some. Having a line item in your budget for at minimum a part-time IT support person should be built into your simlab budget not now, but yesterday.”

Yet still to this day I receive communications like yours asking “Why do some simulation programs insist on a healthcare background for their technology specialist?”. First, let us remember that there are a GREAT deal of unknowns for healthcare educators and administrators embarking through their experience of managing a healthcare simulation program. In all likelihood, they themselves did not receive such computerized or simulated training during their own educations, and so the knowledge gained from personal experience of simulation operations can be almost non-existent. To consider the implications of this, let’s turn to Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book “Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” which shares:

“Why are humans often caught off guard by or slow to recognize the rare and novel? Partly because built into the very nature of our experience is the propensity to extend existing knowledge and experience to future events and experiences. To exacerbate this natural propensity much of our cultural education both formal and otherwise is built upon historical knowledge forced on us by others.”

Thus, healthcare groups who administrate healthcare training or educational departments first thought when creating job descriptions is to hire someone who knows healthcare, because that is the “extension” of their knowledge into the unknown. I would say that this is actually the correct assumption up until the point that operation of technology is involved — where from there is a “historical” gap of knowledge regarding the technical experience and skill sets necessary to manage IT, A/V, computer software and more. So simply put here, one is more likely to hire for what you know, then what you don’t know.

What does all of the above mean for healthcare administrators and clinical educators in the modern age? The U.S. Department of Labor reports that “currently, the average age of a nurse in the United States is 50 and nearly one-quarter of physicians in a 2007 nationwide surveyed were 60 years or older”. While technology integration has clearly entered into mass-adoption by all generations including ‘baby boomers’, by no means were the bulk of today’s senior healthcare educators natively born into the ‘digital age’ — as opposed to say current youngsters who grow up glued to ipads for hours on end. In other words, the deeper understanding of technology and what is necessary to make technology work by those who have spent their careers in non-technology-based work will –most generally– be very limited. Taleb notes here that to go against known “historical knowledge” opens the door for large consequences, which requires “more robustness” to break through. Thus, risk-aversion may prohibit your simulation program from moving forward for some time.

Before continuing, let me share that some of the best simulation technicians I have met have a primary background in healthcare. Why those simulation technicians succeed is why any simulation technician succeeds in this emerging professional career: because they showed up to work every single day excited to learn and share something new. In all of my articles about best hiring practices for medical simulation staff, I always conclude by saying that beyond the numerous benefits of technical or administrative experience, the most important thing administrators can do for their program is to hire individuals who “will never get tired of learning”. Endless innovation though means constant change, and change is hard.

This issue, therefore, goes beyond hiring. I must be honest and share that I have encountered healthcare educators in charge of simulation programs who treat technologists like tools, rather than actual people. This unprofessional behavior actually extends beyond technicians to include program managers and administrative assistants as well. I have found that the programs with such arrogant administrators almost always lose their simulation staff within three years. I have encountered countless stories of simulation staff who have quit a job they truly love because of a serious lack of communication, unsupportive work environment or absence of personal and professional respect. In my own past as a Simulation Technician I myself have quit high-paying medical simulation jobs because I soon realized the leadership of the employing institution did not really support the simulation program, my position, my years of technical experience, nor my long-term career in general. The reality was that for whatever reason, money had been put into the shiny simulation equipment with no thought to program development, educational outcomes, daily operation or utilization. Allen Giannakopoulos, Corporate Director for Reengineering and Redesign at Baptist Health and SSH Treasurer, reminded us at HealthySimAdmin that in 2009 a survey of medical simulation program administrators found that only “about half had ongoing operating budgets”. Thus, this problem goes beyond just an understanding of technical staff, but of simulation staff in general.

But with specific regards to communication, how can we expect the level of respect necessary for technical staff if we are talking about an industry that cannot even fully respect its own community as the expected standard? The horror stories of deeply failed and sometimes egomaniacal communication practices between doctor vs. doctor, doctor vs. nurse, nurse vs. nurse, and provider vs. patient are I believe mostly to blame for why Medical Errors are now the 3rd leading killer of Americans. (To learn more about this, read “Beyond The Checklist” for countless examples of such healthcare communication errors and how the aviation industry dealt with the issue fifty years ago — Healthcare in general needs a wakeup call to the modern age, and technology is exposing that more now than ever before).

Of course, not all healthcare simulation programs have enabled this kind of thinking. Just speak to any of the Sim Techs or simulation operators who attend SimGHOSTS and you will be connecting with personnel from a program that “gets it”. 85% of 2013 attendees to the SimGHOSTS 2013 event responded they had “strong to strongest influence of simulation technology lab purchases”. Thousands of simulation centers around the world have realized that by empowering simulation technicians and program managers, they will see among other benefits: better learning outcomes, increased efficiency with higher utilization, and more staff retention. Vendors like B-Line Medical, Pocket Nurse and Laerdal, who continue to sponsor SimGHOSTS events know that investment must go beyond their equipment and supplies, to the people who will put them into best use. Having visited hundreds of simulation programs around the world and met with thousands of simulation administrators, the noticeable difference between those who succeeded and those who did not was simple. More on this below….

So how do we encourage innovative thinking in organization’s that are missing the “technology” piece of the puzzle?

Art Markman, PhD, the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and editor of the journal Cognitive Science, has some concepts for us here from his post on Harvard Business Review entitled “Do You Know What You Don’t Know?“:

“In psychology, we call the cognitive barrier the illusion of explanatory depth. It means you think you fully understand something that you actually don’t.

No matter the scale, discovering your explanatory gaps is essential for aspiring innovators. An undiagnosed gap in knowledge means you might not fully understand a problem. That can hinder innovative solutions. To discover the things you can’t explain, take a lesson from teachers. When you instruct someone else, you have to fill the gaps in your own knowledge. But you don’t need to wait for the opportunity to teach someone else:

Explain concepts to yourself as you learn them. Get in the habit of self-teaching. Your explanations will reveal your own knowledge gaps and identify words and concepts whose meanings aren’t clear.

Engage others in collaborative learning. Help identify the knowledge gaps of the people around you. Ask them to explain difficult concepts, even if you think everyone understands them. Not only will this help you to work through new ideas, it will occasionally uncover places where your colleagues don’t understand critical aspects of an explanation. When you do uncover these gaps, treat them as learning opportunities, not signs of weakness. After all, successful innovation rests on the assumption that you and the people around you have a high-quality understanding of the problem. Sometimes, uncovering the flaw in that assumption will help you find a solution.”

Thus, from Dr. Markman we can see the need to is encourage administrators to go beyond their historical knowledge to include innovative thinking. In a presentation I have given at SimGHOSTS and HPSN, I spend a solid hour sharing how technical staff can guide administrators to increase their support for better program outcomes, increased utilization and happier employees — all through planned communication strategies. Unfortunately, there is no one sentence that can help to make a higher administrator instantly get it. There needs to be a long-term discussion, which you must be willing to accept, may end in failure as some administrators will are not able to wake up to the real needs or opportunities of medical simulation.

I encourage you to reach out to other simulation programs that are similar in size and scope to your institution, and learn what kind of staff structure they have, what kind of operating budgets they entertain, and utilization / learner performance outcome data sets. Then, look at your own scheduling and when the demand for more utilization increases (as it does often in medical simulation), provide comparisons of what the current staff is tasked with and what more simulations would require to perform, against staff structures from other programs. And remember that with administrators, money talks! One key takeaway from my course however is to present administrators who are looking for “Sim Techs” with the following two number ranges:

2013 Average Nurse Educator Salary Range in the United States: $49,512 – $92,912
2013 Average Information Technology (IT) Support Technician Salary Range in the United States: $25,598 – $57,126

Showing these numbers to the administrator I politely point out: “Why would you pay someone almost twice as much for 1/10th the technical experience? You already have twelve faculty who can teach healthcare, what you don’t have is someone who knows how fix the microphone when it won’t turn on. Put another way: Do you really want to pay a master’s prepared clinical educator to spend their entire day trying to fix something a Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist, at half the rate, could handle in just under thirty seconds?”

Administrators that understand successful leadership means a shared mental model with respect and space for the specialized knowledge to communicate itself are the managers I have seen have the most successes in medical simulation. Steven Speilberg when asked how he had become such a successful film-maker quickly replied: “I hired the right people, and then I got out of their way”. Simply put, admins who are willing to be robust enough to get over what they don’t know about technology, will be the ones to move beyond historical knowledge and learn that there is no simulation center without simulation technology. And there is no simulation technology without a technical-trained simulation technology specialist!

Other relevant articles:

Great Interview Questions When Hiring a Sim Tech

Best Practices for Medical Simulation Hiring

Disagree? Want to add something? Visit the full article and submit a comment at the end!

*UPDATE* – There have been a huge number of responses to this article, which you can read a summary of here!

Catch Up: Summer’s Most Read Medical Simulation Articles

top medical simulation articles

Were you out of the office this summer or looking to recap the our most read medical simulation articles? Check out these highly shared posts:

  • Great Interview Questions When Hiring a Sim Tech – Are you hiring a Simulation Technician or other individual who will be responsible for the operation of your labs? Read this article first to learn how to find a great addition to your simulation team!
  • WISER Nursing Symposium Video Coverage – Back in June The 6th Annual WISER Nursing Simulation Symposium took place at the Pittsburgh Hilton and at the WISER center located next door. Learn more about WISER, this event and Dr. Paul Phrampus – President for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
  • 70 FREE Medical Simulation Videos – HealthySimulation.com has produced more than 70 clinical simulation videos which have been watched over 26,000 times by the international healthcare education community. Check out some highlights here!
  • How to Evaluate Effectiveness of Simulation – Learn about the Japanese philosophy of “Kaizen”, which means “never-ending improvement”, a passion for making things better, the drive for perfection – and how this can help you better develop your medical simulation program.
  • Best Practices For Medical Simulation Hiring – “The goal with hiring for your simulation-based positions is to not necessarily find candidates with the most simulation experience, nor even the most medical experience, but rather the person who has demonstrated the most passion for the position.”
  • Blood Pressure Simulator “BPsim” From KBPort – What I really liked about this device was how realistic the blood pressure cuff was, how detailed you could get with the settings, and how it will work on manikins, IV Arm task trainers AND humans!
  • Award-winning Sim Tech “DIY” Projects Videos – B-Line Medical Supports Sim Tech Innovation With $1000 in Prizes at SimGHOSTS 2013! Watch these videos to see how to build your own EHR system, re-purpose ATLS training skins, and increase fidelity on more basic manikins!

Finally, check out our Top 10 Medical Simulation Articles from Spring – Our previous 2013 recap article with even more great content!


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Great Interview Questions When Hiring a Sim Tech

hiring a sim tech
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Looking to hire a Medical Simulation Technician? Like many others, Jackelyn Csank, Manager of the Simulation Center at The MetroHealth System in Ohio wrote in to HealthySim asking:
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“I am going to be interviewing for a sim tech position in our simulation center.  I am the manager and currently the only employee!  So, I am excited to be getting some additional help in the center.  I wanted to ask if anyone had some good interview questions to ask the candidates? I want to make sure I can get someone qualified and able to do the job.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!”
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That’s a great question! Here are some tips off the top of my head:
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  1. Read my article What To REALLY Look for When Hiring A Sim Tech, and note that hiring for someone eager to “learn new skills” every day and who understands they are there to get the technology out of the way – is really the best way to go. Don’t hire for medical experience, that can be trained through your team and by absorption from the environment, whereas IT and A/V training will be harder to come by. (Read the article above to learn why).
  2. Get someone from the IT department to help in the hiring process, preferably the person this new Sim Tech will be coordinating with in the future – that way, the IT department can help to select a qualified and cooperative candidate. This individual can:
    1. Help to develop the job description knowing what the IT issues will be.
    2. Help to screen candidates resumes and during phone calls for appropriate experience.
    3. Provide initial orientation to collaborative work accomplished so far between your program and the IT department.
  3. After prioritizing resumes, setup phone calls. After phone calls invite candidates in for an interview. If there is enough candidates, bring top performers in for a second interview with your boss and other educators they will be working with. Take your time with each step – hiring the wrong person can cost your program a huge amount of money.
  4. Look for people who like to teach others about technology, not just make technology work. Some IT-based folks are not the best communicators because they work in closed rooms with just computers and networks. Simulation requires collaborative discussion for success. Consider A/V a strong background, because productions require an understanding of technology and the ability to communicate collaborative with others (you) to tell a story to an audience (in this case to the learners).
  5. Train the new hire by sending them to The Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists, an annual hands-on training event that specifically focuses on Sim Tech responsibilities! Check out the online resources of previously recorded events ands learn more at SimGHOSTS.Org!
  6. During HealthySimAdmin, a two day recorded event which brought administrators of various types of simulation programs together to share and discuss best management strategies, Sim Tech James Cypert recommended that you have your candidate teach you about a certain peice of technology based equipment or platform. Coordinate with your IT partner to come up with something basic any technology driven candidate should know (like how to check RAM on a computer), and then have them teach you, over the phone or in-person, how to check the RAM. James was right, this will provide you with an opportunity to see how the candidate will explain how technology works to you – and thus, how they will be at communicating more complicated technical issues in the future.
  7. As well, you can have your IT partner come up with 3 more advanced questions, which the candidates should be able to provide some strong answers to. We did this at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas when hiring our IT/Simulation Technician with fantastic results. These were questions were great ways to vet out who really knows the material.
  8. Consider these typical interview questions to see how your candidate will respond:
    1. Tell us about a time there was a conflict at your previous workplace and what you did to solve it. (Shows how they deal with conflict).
    2. It’s 3pm and you are scheduled until 5pm but the educator calls in and says simulation in cancelled for the day – what do you do now? (Shows what their priorities are for themselves and your program).
    3. Tell them about a scenario where two simulation techs are scheduled for two simulation experiences at the same time – and the other sim tech has called in sick. Ask them what they would do? (This shows how they communicate with administration, attempt to support other groups but also know their responsibility is to their assigned group first and foremost).
    4. Ask them if they will be willing to work nights and weekends if needed? (Sometimes simulations can be scheduled at off times – and this is good to know ahead of time).
    5. Ask them if they have questions for you? (This shows they are thinking about working with you so seriously that they want to make sure you are just as good a fit for them as they are for you!)
    6. Ask them how they feel about learning new things? (4 years into our program one of our staff was tired of new changes, but I reminded them our program was a technology-based center and technology was always changing. Disruption could be minimized but will never go away). Seek a candidate who expects and in-fact enjoys change.
    7. Ask them how they plan to record the knowledge and procedures they will gain while working to the lab to future subordinate staff, and to your program, should they one day decide to leave (This will show them you expect them to build SOPs or other data sets as they work to help make sure the program retains knowledge gained).
    8. Ask them if they have been a supervisor in any capacity before – and if so, about a time when they had to bring in their staff for a difficult conversation and how they handled it. Your Sim Tech may become a manager of volunteer or student workers – and so an understanding of their management style would be a good thing to know now. If they have not ever been a manager, ask them why that opportunity has not come up before and would they be comfortable with it?
    9. Ask them what they think will be most challenging for them about this position will be – and why specifically you should consider them over other leading candidates?
  9. Watch HealthySimAdmin for more great hiring tips!
Lastly, consider working with an outside group such as SimStaff, who provide specialized hiring services in medical simulation including job description development, posting, screening and interviewing. Learn all about their strategies from my SimStaff article on Best Practices for Hiring Medical Simulation Staff.
*Update* Nick Bennett, Head of Simulation at St. Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospital in Merseyside England wrote in recommending you ask interview candidates to “list the three areas of simulation that excite you the most and why?” I agree! It’s great to bring folks in that really appreciate the technology and methodology of simulation – as they will be more likely to stay enthusiastic with the program throughout the duration of their career.
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Email Lance if you have more great tips on hiring a Sim Tech!

Best Practices For Medical Simulation Hiring

When hiring for your healthcare simulation program, finding candidates with direct medical simulation experience is difficult but not impossible. Previously I have written a few articles covering the topic including What To REALLY Look For When Hiring a Sim Tech, New Simulation Program Webinar, and How To Increase Lab Staff Without Increased Budgets, and of course the entire HealthySimAdmin event, to name a few.

medical simulation hiring

The goal with hiring for your simulation-based positions is to not necessarily find candidates with the most simulation experience, nor even the most medical experience, but rather the person who has demonstrated the most passion for the position. No matter how strong the core of your simulation program is, we are talking about a technology and methodology that will continue to evolve and disrupt your training program. Thus, finding individuals who are comfortable with change and go to work everyday looking to “learn something new” will far far better serve your program than someone who a) knows it all or b) cannot deal with continual change.

Finding the right fit for your program should consider experience, but weigh more heavily the fit of the individual into the controlled chaotic world of simulation and your pre-existing team. And to give your program the best opportunity to find the best person, you should consider the serious benefits of working with an outside staffing firm.

simstaff

Today, Jason Irving from SimStaff, a staffing firm which specifically serves simulation industries, wrote in to HealthySim to share some of the benefits of working with professional hiring specialists.

Why it makes sense to use an external recruitment firm.

More than ever there is increased pressure to work quickly and efficiently. With the advances in technology we have become an “on-demand” society that expects answers and results at short notice. There are pressures from external sources such as shareholders, consumers and partner organizations that then drive internal pressure at board level to hiring managers, internal human resources and recruitment teams. Added to those pressures are the increased workload many employees have undertaken since the great recession and there is very little time for hiring managers to actively recruit new employees. Even internal recruitment teams are typically stretched working on multiple assignments that allow very little time for proactive recruitment. Many internal recruiters are so busy they are only able to “post and pray” – an industry term for posting jobs and hoping they are seen by a wide enough audience to attract the right candidates.

These scenarios make it necessary to use external “third party” recruitment firms who are engaged to find suitable candidates. Recruitment / Staffing firms’ entire business model is designed to find the right people for clients – often at very short notice. A typical assignment is initiated when all other internal methods to find candidates has proven unsuccessful and there is an immediate need to hire someone to fill an empty “seat” or a program is unable to start without the key employee.

Reduce risk and Save costs

Utilize an external firm to ensure your hiring managers are productive. A well briefed recruiter should be expected to produce no more than 2 or 3 highly qualified candidates for review. Eliminate unnecessary downtime for your management team!

Utilize an external firm who has to the ability to increase time to hire – making sure your product/ service is delivered and you are not missing other opportunities!

Utilize guarantees! A reputable firm will give guarantees with any hire and replace a hire if necessary – something you can ill afford to do. If they can’t replace they will also give you your money back!

Reduce potential cost and risk by using temp to hire opportunities. You can trial a temp before you make a long term commitment.

Jason also shared these Top Ten Tips for Hiring in Simulation:

10 Tips for successfully using an external / third party recruiter:

1) Develop a partnership with a firm who understands your short and long term needs.

2) Choose a firm that has a systematic process and a proven track record in your niche

3) Describe your potential hiring needs so your partner can continuously identify candidates.

4) When you are hiring – don’t leave it to the last minute – engage early for best results.

5) Describe the outcomes / key indicators you want from the role – don’t just copy and paste the last job description.

6) Agree on how you want to proceed and set expectations.

7) Once you see resumes give quick and detailed feedback on non selected candidates.

8) Give specific post interview feedback that helps candidates and your external recruiters.

9) If you amend the Job Description tell your external recruiter so they can be effective.

10) Treat the recruiter as your partner – they will be more vested in your needs.

To Get Help With Your Simulation Staff Hiring

You can learn more about these hiring support opportunities by visiting the SimStaff website and by contacting Jason Irving via Email. Lastly, be sure to visit the HealthySim Job Listing’s Page to see what’s out there or to post your open medical simulation vacancies.


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Thoughts on Hiring a Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist

During an email list-serv conversation for the Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists, I noticed James Cypert from CalBaptist had an insightful response when a fellow GHOSTS subscriber asked the community:

“I am in the process of hiring a simulation technician and was wondering if other centers had any novel techniques (i.e. diagnose a broken task trainer) for interviewing/ screening candidates and their aptitude for work in this field?”

James’ response starts below:

I do not have a novel way per se. But I do have a recommendation that may benefit everyone. In a discussion with some of the local facilities in the area, and my introduction to them stimulated some discussion in this very area. Apparently, many people have been having discussions about whether technicians should have a strong medical background, (EMT, etc.), or should they have a strong technical background. (Continue reading by clicking the “Read more” link below.)

Read the rest of this entry »

What to REALLY look for when hiring a Sim Tech

What question do you think is more important for a Simulation Technician to be able to answer immediately?

A) “What does a sudden drop in blood pressure indicate in a geriatric case?”

B) “Why is the microphone not working and the computer making that beeping noise?”

Before you answer let me propose one more question to you… Wouldn’t most of your coworkers be able to immediately answer Question A over Question B?  So how many more cooks do we need in that kitchen?

Designing a job description and finding the right Sim Tech is much easier when you can identify the skill sets lacking in your Sim Lab.  Let’s take a look at some of the qualities of a Healthy Simulation Technician.

Click to Read More…