More than "just" a technician - Meet UK Sim Champ Samantha McCormack!
By SimGHOSTS Operations Manager Kirrian Steer
Seven years ago Samantha McCormack applied for and was successful in gaining a position at Buckinghamshire New University as a laboratory technician. When looking for a way to make the role more interesting Sam came across a moulage course and enrolled in it. The value of moulage was immediately evident so Sam used resources such as the Association for Simulation Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH), Behind the Sim Curtain, SimGHOSTS and Healthy Simulation to teach herself as much as she could about simulation and especially moulage. This drove Sam to evolve her role into that of Skills and Simulation Supervisor, and has seen Sam become a trailblazer for SimTechs in the UK.
As awareness of simulation grew and Sam was able to demonstrate the value a SimTech provides, her role and department has expanded and Sam now leads a team of five SimTechs. This fed a need for even more knowledge and despite not being a clinician, Sam was able to demonstrate that she should be admitted into a Masters of Medical Simulation program which she graduated in August. This in itself is a huge achievement but Sam hasn’t stopped there.
In April this year Sam was at an ASPiH event where professional recognition was being discussed. It was here that she heard about the Registered Scientist and Registered Science Technician pathways available in the United Kingdom. Respect shown to Sam by colleagues, and confidence gained in completing her Masters motivated her to seek recognition for the work she does and demonstrate to the other SimTechs in her team that they are more than “just” technicians.
To be assessed for recognition as a Registered Scientist Sam had to complete an application that had five sections each with three parts. Sam collected evidence supporting her application and even reached out to colleagues to write references about her abilities so that she could document the evidence required. The key evidence had to describe the work Sam does with theoretical justifications for her decisions and actions as well as providing evidence of impact. The application was assessed by two professionals and 16 weeks after submission Sam’s commitment to her profession was recognised as she was awarded Registered Scientist status.
Sam’s advice for other SimTechs around the world who are seeking recognition is to collect evidence of your abilities and the impact of your work on organizational goals, participant learning or patient outcomes, and learn how to document this effectively. Record what you do, how you do it, why you do it that way and the results you achieve. If you get feedback from faculty or learners record this as well. You can even request feedback from faculty to gain an understanding of how your work assists them by asking how your work impacts on their teaching and on participant learning. This evidence can then be used in applications for pay increases, promotions, entry into further education and of course, new jobs.
SimGHOSTS congratulates Sam on her fantastic professional achievements and acknowledges her contribution to the recognition of SimTechs worldwide!