7 Basic Tips for Any Healthcare Simulation Technician

“The responsibilities of a Healthcare Simulation Technician are many, staying on track can quickly get away from you if not for some simple rules to live by!” says a Simulation Technician who works with a national healthcare association in the US. Today, one Sim Tech shares his 7 Basic Tips helpful for any Medical Simulation Technology Specialist! They write…

(Editors Note 1/9/20: The author of this post was required by their institution to remove their identifying credentials.)

While working as a Simulation Technician for the last 2 years at a Health Care System simulation center in the United States, I have learned that the responsibilities that come with the job are wide ranging, and (like most jobs) extend well beyond what is listed in my official job description.

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My background also informs my simulation work and consists of 22 years serving in the United States Army as a Medic, where I have also been an instructor and mentor, including teaching EMT and other Medic courses and providing the associated skills training to soldiers.

My 7 Basic Tips for any Simulation Technology Specialist Are:

1. Get a Routine: A lot of my time is spent working alone and it is easy to find that it quickly disappears, even with sometimes large pockets of time with no simulations planned.  This means planning out what is expected of you Monday through Friday.  I find it helpful to compare the list of tasks I need to complete each day to what is scheduled in our Sim Labs and conference rooms.  Every morning, I go over the calendar and get a good idea how the rest of my day and week will go.

2. Perform Quality Assurance Quality Control (QAQC): Some equipment may go left unused for weeks or months. I schedule QAQC time every Monday, as time allows.  As a matter of routine, I check all equipment, including audio and video components (televisions, projectors, overhead speakers, etc.), safe patient handling equipment, patient beds, high and low fidelity manikins, and other simulation tools.

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By scheduling this time, I can be sure that all items, including those which are not routinely used, are in good working order, well ahead of when they may be needed. There’s nothing worse than having a piece of equipment not working properly for a scheduled simulation.

3. Plan Ahead: When coordinating a simulation, plan well ahead of time. This means meeting with the person who is in charge of instruction to plan and set expectations. Give yourself a buffer of preparation time before the simulation and time after the simulation to clean up and reset. You may have to hold your ground in blocking out adequate preparation time, but it is crucial for a successful and professional simulation

4. Google and YouTube are Your Friends: If you’re trying to troubleshoot a piece of equipment or high-fidelity manikin and can’t figure out what’s going on using the product manual, you have other resources. In my experience, I can usually get what I need online (with helpful pictures or videos), so I recommend starting with Google and YouTube before reaching out to the help lines.

5. Update Software Regularly: While this should be included in your QAQC checks, it deserves its own emphasis. Windows frequently has updates that arrive weekly and SimMan3G software updates, for example, drop once or twice a month. In order to keep your equipment running and to keep your computers protected, it is wise to keep everything updated routinely.

6. Create a Sim Lab Manual: If there is no instruction manual or guide for your lab, begin by writing one. This will ensure that you always know what needs to happen. Should you move on to another job, you will leave a road map for your successor. (Editors Note: See our articles on Building a Policies & Procedures Manual and Building a Standard Operating Procedures Manual).

7: Attend & Join SimGHOSTS: Check out SimGHOSTS.org for all the best simulation technician resources, job listings, document templates, technical forums, annual hands-on training workshops and more!

If you’re a new Sim Tech, good job and congratulations! I hope you find your role as rewarding as I do, and that these simple tips will be helpful. If you’re a seasoned veteran Sim Tech, remember that any High Reliability Organization (HRO) benefits from reviewing the basics to keep themselves on their “A” game!

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Today’s article was guest authored by a Simulation Technician at a Healthcare System in the United States.

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