How to Make a Smart Decision on the New Simulator

07/26/2016

Blog post by SimGHOSTS Secretary Lizzy Wooley

How to Make a Smart Decision on the New Simulator

One of the exciting job responsibilities about being a simulation operator is to be part of the new simulator purchasing process either upgrade the old simulator or buy a brand-new one for the new courses. It is hard to ignore the excitement during the process; however, we must follow the proper steps since acquiring simulators is not particularly considered as same as buying a laptop or office supplies. I recently went through the process and I'd like to share my thoughts on the important factors we should consider during the purchase.

Analyzing the needs is one of the most important things you should consider. It will end up just taking the space in the sim center without the proper needs assessment. My suggestion is sending email to the potential instructors or the faculty to see if they would like to have so-and-so type of simulator in the facility. You may also ask how they are planning to utilize the simulator. Once it is confirmed the needs then you should start the market research. There are many tools for this process. You can search them online, watch videos, find the product specifications and descriptions, contact the vendors directly, and even ask product related questions to the end users through the online communities such as KeyIn or SimGHOSTS forum. Once you gather the idea of what simulator you are leaning toward to then now it's time for you to set up some demo. As there are many different vendors who are selling similar items, I highly recommend having demos from all of them. Some people might say it's not necessary if it's just the simple task trainers, not the hi-fidelity simulators, however I still believe having the actual procedure done on the simulator and get the feeling is very crucial. For instance, I recently purchased the arterial stick arm after just checking some catalog. When it arrived, it wasn’t quite the same as I imagined. The pulsation wasn’t strong enough to feel and there were couple procedure that couldn’t be done. So I was back in using the old arterial arm for the class. Another reason the demo is important is that the simulators you see at the conference is a very well set-up in term of realism that there is a possibility you may have overlooked some of the components. One of the simulators we recently purchased which I saw at the conference had thicker wire connection which we didn’t expect and it turned out those wires were all hidden under the set-up table. Also, the conference set-up is different from the class room that you might find the extra components you need to take care during the demo at your facility. During this process, the instructors and even learners should be invited to help you to choose the right simulator by providing feedback.

After going through these steps and you finally made your mind, it’s good to go with the actually purchasing process. Also, don’t forget to make sure that the vendor has a good customer service. The journey with simulator begins after you implement it at your center and it is much easier with a good customer service.