Simulation Center Priorities

09/01/2016

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

Simulation Center Priorities

My Simulation Center has yet to upgrade to LLEAP… I know that a large reason behind this fact is that here in the Middle East we are commonly working with third-party vendors and we have limited vendor-support, but that is not the only reason. I’m curious as to how easy it is for other Sim Techs out there to receive support for these upgrades and purchases. I know that most Sim Tech job descriptions include helping with purchasing decisions, and include responsibility for equipment or software upgrades. It’s not that we are “not receiving” support for the LLEAP upgrade, it’s just taken a while to “receive” support – does that make sense? I believe the key underlying cause is a Sim Center’s priorities. To echo Rachel Bailey’s recent blog post regarding sim staff ratios: “Simulation educators outnumber operators in most centers.” This means, most of the focus is on the education and therefore education tends to fall at a higher priority than the technical operations. I don’t want to generalize, but I think the situation with our LLEAP upgrade is a good example.

I requested that we upgrade to LLEAP in October 2015. My justification for the upgrade was that we could get the free trial which was available throughout 2015 and pilot the new software integration and training before committing to the full system upgrade. This is in addition to the obvious justification of keeping up with new simulation technology. We even had a few trial copies of LLEAP on a flash drive. While my fellow Techs and I were at the SGMEA15 Conference in November our local Laerdal rep offered us support and offered to come visit our Center “whenever” to give us a demonstration. The response from our Sim Center Operations Manager was that “it was not a good time.”

In all fairness, our program was getting busier. But I would like to highlight the fact that in this situation, the education agenda took priority over the operational agenda. I did continue to speak up about the LLEAP upgrade, but it wasn’t until July 2016 that I was given approval to contact our Laerdal Sales Representative to schedule a demonstration.

In order to prioritize things, you have to have an understanding of each task’s full workload and worth. Something like upgrading to LLEAP may seem to be a workload heavy task to someone who isn’t familiar with simulation technology. In reality, a lot of the work involved in the upgrade will be done by Laerdal, and as techs we can assist in the upgrade and make sure we are familiar with the new interface; this is not a huge feat. Now to think about worth… As a Center who is creating a Tech Training Program which we will roll-out to newer, nearby Sim Centers, we don’t have much value if the software we’re teaching and preaching is outdated… One of the nearby local hospitals has already upgraded to LLEAP, and they will likely come to participate in our Tech Training Program (if you happened to read my prior blog post I discussed our internal tech training program).

Long story short, I agree with Rachel Baileys suggestion that “it is time to reverse the ratio and allow technology growth to reflect staffing numbers,” and would add that this ratio reversal should help balance simulation priorities as well.