How do simulation educators learn the ‘tech stuff’?

By: Victoria Brazil (@SocraticEM)

Clinical educators involved in simulation-based education (SBE) generally enjoy the pedagogical aspects of the job. Rich conversations about curricular design, scenario writing, debriefing techniques and experiential learning theories occur in simulation faculty development programs. But success in SBE also requires effective use of technology, including human patient manikins, audio-visual equipment, App based adjuncts, part task trainers, and virtual reality systems. Increasing complexity and diversity of options for this simulation equipment can make this a daunting task. Some simulation programs will have equipment specialists, but SBE faculty should know the opportunities and limitations of the tech used to support their educational strategies and be able to contribute to technical delivery and troubleshooting.  So how can clinician educators learn about their ‘tech’? 

Ahmed and colleagues offer us guidance in their recent publication – Development of a simulation technical competence curriculum for medical simulation fellows. Recognising a deficiency in technical knowledge and skills among their faculty (especially doctors), they designed and implemented an educational program in ‘technical competence’.  The article describes both the content of their program, and a process of developing it (with a nice refresher on Thomas and Kern’s 6 step framework). Their curriculum includes hardware/ software for manikins, troubleshooting, learning management systems, maintenance and care for part task trainers. The curriculum is delivered through structured learning and ‘on the job’ buddying with equipment specialists, and learners complete a summative assessment at the end of the program.

So what other resources are there for learning about technology for SBE? Most of this learning continues to occur ‘on the job’ through regular simulation delivery and troubleshooting the inevitable technical glitches that occur.  I offer a few resources below; not an exhaustive list, but a starting point. (N.B. Nil disclosures)

Industry courses and support

Online resources, social media


Communities of practice

  • The SimGhosts conferences are a ‘gathering of healthcare simulation technologist specialists’, and their website offers many resources.
  • The SimOps conferences are hosted by the US based Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH)

Certification/ credentialing

  • The SSIH has established a multilevel credentialing process, with formal examinations, for Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialists (CHSOS)  and  Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialists – Advanced (CHSOS-A).  Their examination blueprints offer guidance as to the domains of knowledge and skills required for these roles, and for simulation educators more broadly

Most of this learning continues to occur ‘on the job’ through regular simulation delivery and troubleshooting the inevitable technical glitches that occur. 

Would love to hear of any others’ resources or sources of learning for ‘sim tech’!

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