The Benefits of an Internal Equipment Training Program

07/28/2016

Blog post by SimGHOSTS MEA Officer Valen Anderson, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Doha Qatar

The Benefits of an Internal Equipment Training Program 

Some of the most common questions asked at Simulation Conferences like SimGHOSTS are:

“How did you get into Simulation?”

“What is your background? Healthcare? IT? Theater?”

We are all aware that Simulation Technology Specialists have some background in either healthcare, IT, AV, theater, etc, but it is a rarity for someone to start off their simulation career having prior experience working with simulation technology. Take myself, for example. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in pre-medicine, am IT savvy, and have a passion for theater. After graduating from college I moved to Chicago, where my new neighbor was the Director of the Simulation Department at NorthShore University HealthSystem (shout out to Dr. Ernest Wang who is a Simulation Guru!). Ernie approached me as a fresh pre-med grad and asked if I was interested in working in simulation, since I wasn’t quite sure the medical/clinical route was for me. NorthShore’s Sim Tech at the time was on her way to Medical School at Rush and they were looking for a replacement. After I tour of the Sim Lab, I was amazed. After shadowing the Sim Tech at the time for a couple weeks, I dove into my role as a Simulation Technician and loved it.

Ok, so long story short, we all come from different backgrounds and at first a lot of the career training we receive happens on the job. Because of this, my current sim team here in Qatar is developing an “Equipment Training Program.” This program has a basic/introductory portion for clinical educators and an intermediate portion for sim techs in training. Let me emphasize that these courses are basic, but I believe they will be a huge benefit in creating a culture of simulation here at Sidra. The general content of the program is: components, operation, troubleshooting, and after-use care. The general structure is eLearning, hands-on practice, skills assessment, and mentoring.

These programs will help to introduce stakeholders to simulation technology, its capabilities and limits, and the best way to utilize it. As an example, if a clinical educator had basic training on our SMOTS AV System via the Training Program, and they were live-viewing a scenario in a separate room, they would have the knowledge, skills and practice to perform basic AV tasks like adjust the volume, utilize SMOTS viewing options, and camera movement. This gives a healthy degree of independence to the educator, as well as frees up time for the Sim Tech to be performing more complex tasks.

These programs also assist a Sim Tech’s growth and experience. During my time at NorthShore I had little-to-no experience with many Guamard and CAE manikins. Thanks to Sidra’s internal training program I was able to enrich and develop my own equipment knowledge, skills and practice. I am now proficient in these manikins and am thankful to expand my simulation portfolio. Now for the obvious: As helpful as an internal equipment training course is, it is critical for Sim Techs all over the world to be attending Simulation Conferences. Internal courses are step 1. They should be fully supplemented by conferences in order to learn of the new technology, equipment, applications, and skills on the market. I’m thankful to SimGHOSTS for providing us with the opportunity to do exactly that!