We must continue to be mindful that the goal of healthcare simulation is not the simulation itself. It is easy to be enamored with the ability to re-create aspects of the healthcare environment with equipment that is fun to work with and makes the participant go “WOW!!!!” It is also fun to surprise participants from time to time and experience the joy of seeing a participant or group achieve an “ahaaaa” moment created by one of our simulations.
However fun, useful, exciting and relevant the situation; the simulation is not the ultimate goal. This concept must be in the back of every successful simulation faculty member. The goals of the activity are driven by the objective and assessment tools that the simulation is designed to accomplish. The ultimate goal is better trained and more confident healthcare providers of all levels!
Whether you are considering what simulation equipment to purchase, designing the audio and visual systems, data collection or floor plans of a new program, it will serve you well to continue to focus on the mission. Many times the ability to recreate fanciful renditions of highly complex situations takes over as the chief aim and end up costing more money and consuming more resources then may be necessary. The mission that is detailed enough to allow a drill-down to the learning objective level to help guide the procurements sensibly.
I can not tell you how many times we have had a well meaning faculty member see a fancy simulator at a national meeting and then return home to want to purchase one. Then as we take the time to analyze the goals of what the goal of the education that the faculty member is setting out to accomplish, we find that the newest, fanciest, whiz-bang simulator is necessary after all. Often times a lesser-cost piece of equipment will suffice.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited every year on exhibit hall floors seeing the new technology becoming available for our profession and ostensibly designed to benefit healthcare providers and patients for the future. But we must keep that enthusiasm under control to be able to make objective decisions on the types of purchases we make and the designs we create.
Similarly the designs of our scenarios including what we include and exclude should go though a similarly rigorous evaluation process. There is no sense making a scenario more complicated to set up, execute and break down unless each element contributes directly to the learning objectives.
This will allow us to hit the bull’s eye with effectiveness and efficiency in the use of simulation into the future. That will help us toward the real goal!