8 Tips for Contributing to the Simulation Community


by SimGHOSTS Board member Matt Charnetski


SG19USA attendees at FIU, Miami FL.

I’ve said it before; we have the coolest work.  I love working in healthcare education, but simulation really has a whole different element to it.  The problem solving.  The ingenuity.  Playing with dolls and makeup, if I’m honest with myself.  All of these things make for a stellar career.  The thing that really gets me excited, though, are the people.  The community, really.

 It’s so easy to be competitive with each other in the workplace.  And wanting to be the best is never a bad thing.  But the way we become the best is to keep investing in ourselves and each other.  Collaboration is key.  And as we build things up together, our community gets stronger and our profession gets stronger.

 I’ve had a pretty fantastic couple of months in sim.  We had a fantastic SimGHOSTS USA event at FIU in Miami.  What a group of people came together for that!  That moment when keynote speaker John Rizvi asked how many people had invented something and 95% of the hands in the room went up…  That’s the stuff of dreams.  I still freak out a little at how cool that was to see.  But not just that, seeing people get to know each other.  Watching folks exchange ideas and collectively work to solve the problems that we all are encountering…  It all meant a lot to me and cemented, for me, that this is the best career.

 I’ve also had the chance to visit some pretty stellar and high performing centers in the last couple of months.  Places that I had heard very little about but that are really doing some incredible things.  Thank you to the people at Parkview Health and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for showing me what you all are up to. 

 The thing that struck me in all of this, though, was how much is happening out there that none of know about.  That conferences can’t be the only time we actually get to collaborate.  These in person events should be the things that kick off collaboration.  Particularly for those of you who might be more geographically disparate.  And triply for those of you who feel like you’re alone (shout out to the person at SG18USA that thought they were the only sim lab in their state… A state that I’m in and just a couple of hours away!).

 So, what?  To paraphrase Dumas; we are people of action, words do not suit us. 

  1. Read more

    We have journals dedicated to sim and journals (or journal sections) that are dedicated to simulation operations.  Not to mention blogs, forums, organizational digests; the list goes on. As a professional, it is your duty to seek out sources and find out what people are doing and sharing!  Reading more becomes crucial in the next step too… 

  2. Write more

    Contribute to the things people are writing.  Submit to blogs, participate in discussion boards.  One of the things I see most is that we, the operations community in particular, don’t realize how innovative, unique, and brilliant we are.  Share what you’ve done.  Maybe you’re not the only one.  Maybe you are.  Get it out there and work with the community continue refining it and making it better! 

  3. Present

    Writing isn’t the only way to share what you are up to.  It’s a daunting task; but put yourself out there!  When the call for abstracts comes, fill it out.  The worst they can say is no!  But, imagine when they say yes.  And remember, you don’t have to go big right out of the gates (though you can!).  There are countless local and regional conferences and meetings that are looking for simulation content.  Not only in the simulation world, but in the adjacent practice and educational worlds.  Look to sim, healthcare professions, educational programs, and even pre-health programs for people that may want help with events, workshops, etc. 

  4. Attend

    Get out there and meet the people.  Most organizations have justification toolkits.  They can help you sell the idea that these conferences and meetings are worth going to.  Moreover, get involved in more meaningful ways, serve these organizations and grow your network.  It blows me away how small our community is and how many resources are at our behest when we have someone to talk to.  Even if you don’t know someone, pretty quickly someone you know knows someone.  And, if you find that the conferences aren’t offering you what you want or need, see number 3!! 

  5. Collaborate

    Follow through on the conversations you have.  We basically live in the future, there are very few things we can’t accomplish no matter how far apart we are physically.  Just a couple of years ago I was sitting on the floor of my apartment playing PS4 with people from 3 different countries like we were sitting in the same room.  If we can do that, there’s no reason we can’t collaborate on projects around the country and beyond.  Keep up with people in your professional community.  We’re all busy, and we all understand that.  Chip away at things and keep working.  I want to see what you all come up with. 

  6. Try

    Do stuff.  And then do more stuff.  As you find problems, fix them.  What we do is fantastically challenging.  It is also stunningly rewarding.  That said, we are a young field and this is no time for complacency. 

  7. Fail

    Oh man…  There are so many inspiring quotes about failing.  I’ll spare you my internet rabbit hole.  But next time we see each other, ask me about it and I’ll tell you about my countless hours lost reading about failure.  The point is, fail.  Be okay with it.  Fine, I’ll share one of my favorites with you.  “There is no such thing as failure, just early attempts at success.” There’s no attribution to the quote that I can find, but it’s true.  Failure just means we’ve found one way not to do something.  Often, we may have even accidentally found a solution to a different problem! 


    Keep pushing.Trying.Failing.

    If you’re still with me (thank you), it is likely obvious that I am a nerd.  Deeply.  So it may not shock you that I love the laws from Arthur C. Clarke.  Particularly the second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.  This resonates with me on so many levels.  But mostly for our community.  The number of people I’ve met who are doing something that someone (maybe even me!) told them was impossible has been startling.


So, SimGHOSTS community.  Keep it up.  You all inspire me on a regular basis and recharge me every time we interact.  So, let’s do this more often.  You know where to find me.  Let’s do some stuff.