Oh, Simulation How I Have Missed Thee!
By SimGHOSTS Board member Billie Paschal
Back in September 2017, I resigned from my simulation position to focus on family and study, knowing that the mid-semester and mid-fiscal year timing might pose challenges to re-entry when I was ready. I applied to jobs in simulation specifically, healthcare industry jobs that fell closely in line with simulation, explored career moves outside of education, simulation, and healthcare altogether. I was becoming forlorn from my search. Now do not get me wrong I used the time afforded to me: made a 4.0 that semester at the University of North Texas, applied, studied, and PASSED the Certification for Healthcare Simulation Operation Specialist (CHSOS), had the unfortunate availability to help my mother with funeral arrangements for my father. All the while my creative juices were flowing and no simulation to run. Not responsible for six projects at once, no technical issues to troubleshoot, no need to call anyone in customer support. Crickets!
My job search was ending up all the same: necessary to travel or relocate to find something now. “If you only had your degree finished?” UGH!!! Then a simple email to a director at a local college. We are members of the same networking group in our part of the state, so the contact was not awkward. They were only given fiscal approval for part-time positions, and I was what they were looking for to complete the year. I have this and one more semester of college left, my international certification, newly re-certified first aid and new BLS card holder.
The first day back was just like going to the first day of high school. I could not sleep the night before. I only know one person? Will everyone think I am a dork? Did I pick out clothes that match? Did I double check the driving directions? It’s been a week, and I have observed simulation for the Respiratory Therapy program. That was interesting and working with the equipment I have only seen at conferences. Was a basic standardized patient for paramedicine students. That made my heart all aflutter! I was so excited I even told them my actual weight for medication administration purposes. No woman EVER does that! Seeing all the simulation “people” and equipment I used for hours a day made my heart pitter patter and I could fill the butterflies in my stomach. Tomorrow will be my first time behind the glass in ONE HUNDRED and FIFTY-FIVE days!
I have never been more ready for a simulation in my life! Those of us behind the glass, we may not be the instructor for educating, but we are the controller of the patient that the student will recall for a test. Reference in their memory when the real situation presents itself. We could be the difference between patient safety and patient failure. We do make a difference, and at the end of the stressful day: professors wanting to make last minute changes, the students running late from lunch, the debrief that is not all roses and rainbows, the medication error that was fatal. It’s all part of the big picture. BRING IT!