Get Real - How to Increase the Realism of Your Healthcare Simulations


Blog post by SimGHOSTS Community Director Nick Bauer

Get Real - How to Increase the Realism of Your Healthcare Simulations

After returning home from a trip to Disney World I began questioning the sims we run. While one may suggest Disney and healthcare education have nothing in common I’d argue the contrary. There are key details necessary for creating a realistic-like atmosphere that may often go “un-noticed” yet play a crucial role. Disney parks begin setting the stage well before entering the gates and once inside the show begins with a mix of reality, virtual reality & life-size cartoon characters. How can one not be drawn in?

​So I’ll ask the question. Do your simulations, either manikin or SP-based, create an atmosphere whereby learners are able to suspend disbelief? Everyone ultimately knows the environment is fiction. However, are a large percentage of these learners able to successfully navigate their way through the event? From my experience there will always be those that say “…this is fake…it’s not real….” For those leaners they will have a long road ahead as healthcare simulation is required more often than not.

How much time do you spend setting the stage and orienting the participants? It’s my belief learners will greatly benefit from (my perspective of) the “Disney” model.

  1. When visiting Disney most know, to some extent, what to expect
    • Prep learners prior to event
  2. The environment is welcoming; greeters are waiting for you upon arrival
    • Welcome learners to sim center - ease tension.
  3. The parks are staged well. Vehicles, buildings, landscaping, and decorations are purposefully placed
    • Stage the area with just the right equipment
  4. “Characters” are made to look and act the part
    • Apply Moulage to create realistic visual cues , dress patient(s) accordingly; use high quality digital imaging
  5. Disney = Brand Loyalty
    • Respect your learners as they will likely care for you or loved ones in the near future

Core competencies are present in healthcare fields as they are at Disney. One such competency is SERVICE which is defined by “exceptional service…achievable for every organization because exceptional service is “architected” from systems and processes that you control.” At the end of the day your sim center is dependent up on the service you provide. Be creative and think outside of the box. Welcome your learners, faculty and all guests and provide a service that is second to none.