How to Organize your Regional Simulation Network with Airtable
By SimGHOSTS Operations Manager Kirrian Steer - Author note – I declare that I have no affiliation with Airtable.
A few months ago, I let you know about Airtable, a database app that was so easy to use that pretty much anybody could build their own database with no coding required. I also promised that I would report back on other ways that I had used Airtable to benefit simulation programs.
The region I live in has a simulation network whose members comprise three universities and eight hospitals. They are an active group who collaborate on professional development activities and to support each other’s simulation programs. I recognized that Airtable had the potential to provide an overview of the simulation assets for the region – equipment, standardized patients and simulation personnel – and set about building the database.
The database has four sections:
- An overview of the network member organizations
- A record of all simulation equipment located at each member site
- A record of all simulation faculty, technicians and coordinators at each member site
- A record of all standardized patients who have consented to being included in the shared register and are willing to work at other sites.
The member overview section shows the equipment owned by each member, the equipment located at the member site, the personnel employed by the member, and the SPs employed by the member. Any of these records can be expanded to provide full details.
The equipment section has a record for each item of equipment that details the owner, location, asset number, device type (such as manikin or task trainer), photograph, supplier, a checkbox to indicate that the item is available for loan/hire, and a contact person for enquiries.
The personnel section records the employer, contact details, photograph, role, simulation experience and has a notes section to record details such as work days for part time employees, areas of expertise or other information.
The SP section contains the gender, age range, host organization, photograph, contact details, faculty contact (for references) and notes section to record availability and other information for each SP. I also added a checkbox to indicate whether the SP was a volunteer or was paid for their services as different organizations have different SP funding arrangements.
Database users can choose between a grid (spreadsheet) and gallery (card) view, and can group, sort and filter by each field type. Each section also has a sharable form available so that each member organization can contribute to the database without having to have full administrator access. The database can be shared with view-only permission and restricted to particular sections or to all four sections.
I have created an identical database with mock data that you are welcome to view here
If you have any questions or comments please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org