Celebrate Your Healthcare Simulation Program's Success!


Blog post by SimGHOSTS USA officer Mark Johanneck

As the fiscal year draws to a close and a new year is set to begin it serves as a good time to reflect back on all of your hard work and all that has been accomplished. It can be easy to get bogged down in the day to day operations of a simulation program such as all the effort it takes to be constantly preparing for, running and cleaning up various simulation events. While daily operations are vitally important to a simulation program’s success, I think it is also important for the entity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It is a chance to remind ourselves why we put in long hours and work hard to make sure that each of the simulations we put on is a success. In the end we all share the same general goal of improved patient outcomes.

Every year we set aside a couple of days to celebrate our program’s growth and success. We use this time to remind the rest of the hospital that we bring value to the larger organization and to thank all of those involved who make it possible. Our annual celebration of “Sim Days” is a chance for us to publicly reflect on all the hard work put in by our own staff, by the entire dedicated faculty, who work tirelessly to educate the next generation of clinicians, and by the administrators and department chairs who allocate the funds and resources in order to make it all possible.

Although budgets can be tight, we have committed to setting aside money each year to create and print an annual review. In these annual reviews we document our year in review. This year we are celebrating our 5th year as a simulation program, therefore, we reflected back on our first five years’ accomplishments. Every year these reports provide us a venue to highlight some of the high points and big projects we have been a part such as hospital wide initiatives (like central venous line placement and special pathogens preparedness training) to ongoing research and development projects. The reports also provide a way for us to reach those who may be interested in simulation, but are not sure where or how to begin. Historically, the stories we share have sparked others imagination and creativity to either develop or revamp a simulation-based educational event.

As most of the readers understand, breaking down discipline silos can be challenging, but we have found that holding an open house during our annual Sim Days has provided us with an opportunity for hospital employees and the general public to share ideas and build an inter-professional learning community in simulation. This open house time also allows for the attendees to see firsthand the benefits and innovation happening in healthcare simulation. In addition to the open house every year we have invited a special guest who also shares the passion of simulation education, to come and help us celebrate. We hold a small grand rounds style lecture which is open to anyone is interested, hospital faculty, staff and public alike, to hear about the simulation research, current and future states of the world of clinical simulation education. We also set aside time for our primary simulation champions to spend some time one on one with our guest speaker to discuss their own interests in simulation and hope that these meetings will serve as a spring board to new ideas and potential multi-institutional collaborations. Our guest speakers often are able to help provide the broader picture of why we do simulation. This both helps remind us of both why simulation is vitally important and that we are making in difference in patient outcomes, which is a wonderful motivator and provides inspiration to reach higher and achieve more in our program.

Furthermore, at the close of our Sim Days, we recognize and celebrate the efforts that our simulationists devote to our program by hosting an Annual Appreciation Dinner. To our delight, these dinners have proven to be mutually beneficial. Attendees join us in celebrating the preceding year while having a chance to mingle with other simulationists from a variety of different fields. These informal conversations have led to multi-disciplinary collaborations on future simulation events.

I realize not all programs will have the resources available to be able to hold elaborate annual celebrations, however, I do think it is important for each program to find some way to take time to recognize their own contributions to improving health care and patient outcomes for your own institution. It’s also important to thank those who make it possible, whether that is through their hard work and dedication or financial contributions and support. Take the time to celebrate your successes!

I would be interested to hear how others have found ways to publicly celebrate their simulation programs success. Join me in the discussion forums and hopefully people can share ideas that have proven to be successful in their own programs and inspire others and generate new ideas.