‘Simulation Discomfiters’ – The Anti-Champions Who Frustrate Our Programs

healthcare egos

I looked up the definition of champion today. Words like “supporter”, “booster”, “friend”, “hero”, and “superstar” were among my favorites — and all words I feel when I think of the thousands of simulation champions I have met over the past many years. Below these great words I saw the antonyms of champion, which included words like “trivial”, “worst”, “least” and “discomfit”.

Discomfit was a word I had never heard before. It means “1. to make uneasy, confused, or embarrassed 2. to frustrate the plans or purpose of”. A discomfiter, therefore, is a person who makes things difficult, confusing, and embarrassing while frustrating the plans and purposes of a team.

On various occasions I have directly witnessed one individual’s ego take down an entire healthcare simulation program. As a community builder in our field of simulation, I have had countless phone calls with champions from around the world who share their grief and frustration over the constant roadblocking by another member of their team — a discomfiter who is usually set in their ways unable to truly adopt the change required for technical and learning innovation to occur. Whether its spreading rumors, continually demanding attention, discrediting and threatening others, or just ignoring contributions — these discomfiters do exist. Sadly, sometimes a discomfiter’s constant complaining and negative energy succeeds and they get their way which leads to the eviction of champions and the reduction of simulation.

Usually within three to six months after such a tragic event, I learn from the champion that the simulation program has suffered a great deal – with learning outcomes and operational efficiency diminishing sometimes down to nothing. Literally, a single personnel change and within six months a robust simulation program with huge learner impacts turns into wasted equipment, spaces, and time.

For some of us in smaller programs we are the entire simulation team. I’m sure you’ve wondered what would happen if you needed to find work elsewhere — but has your administration? How much knowledge and expertise walks out the door with you — especially when you do not have the opportunity to train your replacement.


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Dr. Val Gokenbach, Professor for American Sentinel University in the DNP, MSN and BSN programs, wrote an article for NurseTogether.com called Lose the Ego Nurses, It’s Not About You“. In her article Dr. Gokenbach shares that “as an administrator for over 35 years in healthcare organizations, I have seen ego destroy individuals, ruin reputations, hinder personal growth and success”. (Nursing is just one example of where unchecked egos and unprofessional communication can cause problems, but such challenges exist throughout healthcare including patient vs doctor, nurse vs doctor, and even police officer vs. fire fighter engagements).

Dr. Gokenback explains the ego and the impact that ego can have on our lives and our programs when left unchecked: “Our ego is constantly threatened by the perception of others and is always in need of attention. Anything that threatens that security can become a basis for conflict, anger, and fear. The reality is that we all have egos. The successful nurse learns to realize the concept, protect themselves emotionally, and control their reaction.”

Ultimately in the workplace administrators have the responsibility to check egos and ensure that the program, simulation or otherwise, can continue to innovate and succeed. Tools that are available to help us with this delicate situation like signing up for the TeamSTEPPS Communication System Free Online Master Training or taking time to reflect on healthcare team communication with new books like Collaborative Caring by S. Gordon.

I faced such issues myself as the first director of the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas. Primarily I quietly relied on one primary question to help me decipher if challengers where champions of discomfiters: does this person’s request benefit the simulation program, or benefit the person?

Dr. Gokenback’s advice to such discomfiters? “Get over yourself. Think of your importance to the greater good and not only your world, which is small in comparison.” Read her full article here.

Have you dealt with a “discomfiter” in your simulation career?
Share about your experience on the HealthySim LinkedIn Discussion Group!


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Example of Simulation Lab Faculty, Staff and Learner Roles & Responsibilities Breakdown

example of roles and responsibilities in medical simulation program

Available below is one of numerous program policies and procedures guides our team developed while I was director of the  Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas. These guidelines were created in-order to maximize the results of simulated learning experiences, which requires the coordination of many “moving parts”. Here are a few excerpts from the document:

Staff responsibilities

  • Approve requested schedules. Verify schedule confirmation to faculty or notify of any conflicts.
  • Prepare necessary supplies, medications, IVs, etc for each scenario
  • Program the scenario
  • Conduct “dry run” of all new cases with each instructor
  • Prepare the simulation room and technology based on assigned cases for the day and faculty’s prep list

Learner responsibilities

  • Arrive on-time for Simulation. Note: consequences for late arrival will be determined by faculty
  • Maintain Dress Code as outlined in CSCLV Policy and Procedures
  • Watch Orientation Videos as appropriate
  • Demonstrate motivation and the necessary cognitive preparedness
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors as outlined in “Participation Agreement” & the CSCLV Learner Policies and Procedures manual.

Simulation instructor responsibilities

Prior to Sim Day:

  • Determine each semester who will be the instructor(s) for the semester
  • Schedule simulation days/times with CSCLV prior to the start of the semester
    • Include the instructor(s) who will be in attending the session
    • Include the scenario(s) to be used

On Sim Day:

  • Lead faculty must arrive at the Simulation Center ½ hour for huddle with staff before the first scenario is scheduled to begin. If faculty are more than 15 minutes late to huddle and do not provide notification, session can be cancelled by simulation staff.
  • Provide learners a brief orientation on their roles and responsibilities and the simulation area at the start of each day
  • Manage the live scenario from the Simulation Control room, and respond appropriate to learners’ actions. This may require altering the scenario as learners’ create their own experience.
  • Serve as the voice of the patient

Download the Complete CSCLV Simulation Roles & Responsibilities Document

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:

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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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. 

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!

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 »


Supported Organization:


How is your IT relationship?

IT is a critical component for the ongoing success of a simulation center that taking time to reflect on your relationship with the department is important. Tom Brewster from the UK’s online PCPRO Magazine writes a captivating article about the misconceptions and perceived inner world of the “IT Department”:

“Everyone hates the IT department,” an executive with storage and data-recovery firm EMC told us recently. But why is there so much antipathy towards a department that is, after all, designed to help and support workers?

Often interred in the basement, trapped between the rack servers and a bank of screens, the IT worker is cut adrift – both physically and psychologically – from the rest of the company.

Afforded little more respect than cleaners, the widespread belief that IT isn’t an essential part of an organisation is belied by the fact that companies need IT to function. It’s the first department to be blamed when something goes wrong, and the last to be credited for success.

So why is IT the most maligned department? Why is there such a disconnect between the enterprise and IT for so long? We try to find out.”

Read more on Why everyone hates the IT department.

Here at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas, we have a combined IT & Simulation Technician named Jonathan Sturak, who represents the center when dealing with the UNLV campus IT department or various technological vendors.  He is a crucial member of the team and we could not survive without his daily presence here in the lab.

Does your school have ongoing IT support? If not, how does your lab get by? Write a comment and let us know!