Staffing Overhaul in Simulation Centers

07/19/2016

Blog post by SimGHOSTS board member Rachel Bailey

Staffing Overhaul in Simulation Centers

Simulation centers run on a keen sense of operations, yet the staffing of these centers do not reflect reality. Centers can house anywhere from 2 mannequins up to 20 high-fidelity mannequins, not to mention the task trainers, virtual reality and audio-visual software. Staffing 2 or less simulation operators to each simulation center to maintain, operate and participate in daily simulations is unrealistic.

Simulation technology has grown in the past decade and staffing needs to reflect the growth. Simulation educators outnumber operators in most centers. Educators have content experts to rely and assist in developing scenarios and curriculum. This keeps curriculum accurate and simulations to meet specific needs of learners. Content experts rely on simulation educators for simulation specific guidelines for courses and debriefings. Everyone relies on the simulation operators for class organization, simulator operations, programming, audio-visual needs, moulage, fabrication and integration of new technology. The numbers do not reflect the demands.

A solution to the staffing dilemma is to reverse the ratio of educators vs operators. A simulation educator could oversee the curriculum and train content experts in debriefing. Operators would meet with new clients to discuss needs of simulation, this will aid in accurate objectives and realistic demands of simulations. So many times operators are pulled into the simulation after curriculum is developed and asked to do the impossible. Operators meeting with the content experts will prevent this problem.

Staffing a simulation center with more operators and less educators brings focus to each field. Operators can focus on maintenance and efficient operations which leaves the educator to focus on curriculum development. Pairing content experts with simulation operators during simulations will meet the needs of the learners. Operators focus on running simulation and content experts focus on meeting the objectives and debriefing learners.

Every position in a simulation center is crucial. Numbers reflecting the demands of each position will establish simulation success. It is time to reverse the ratio and allow technology growth to reflect staffing numbers.