MGH Institute Opens Enrollment in *NEW* SimOps Master’s Degree Program
The MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Massachusetts, has recently developed a clinical simulation track within the school’s PhD in Health Professions Education (HPEd) program. Hoping to expand upon the education of simulationists, the institute has recently developed a new master’s degree program in health professions education track with simulation-based education (SBE) and simulation operations (SimOps). This clinical simulation track master’s degree program is completely online with one three-day onsite seminar and a one-week onsite practice in Boston (all virtual during COVID-19).
The idea for a master’s degree program in simulation operations came to Suzan “Suzie” Kardong-Edgren PhD, RN, ANEF, CHSE, FSSH, FAAN, who is now an associate professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, approximately five years ago. As the previous director of the RISE Simulation Center at Robert Morris University, she saw each day how important the role of a simulation operations professional was. Yet, she recalls coming to the understanding that without additional education, there were things the simulation operations specialist may never come to know.
“We need skilled simulation operations specialists, but if they want to move forward in their careers, there will be other things they have to learn,” Kardong-Edgren, who is also President-elect of the International Nursing Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning, said. “As I saw this playing out in my own institution, we started planning for an undergraduate degree in simulation operations, which I think is desperately needed. However, expenses compared to salaries became a barrier to start this program.”
Transitioning into her current role at the MGH Institute, Kardong-Edgren was asked if she would be interested in starting a master’s in simulation operations track. She explained that she already had much of the curriculum planned in collaboration with her colleague Michael Young, MDiv, BBS, CHSE, a recognized leader in the field of simulation operations.
“We had great course ideas written already, and we just had to find a place to plug them in,” said Kardong-Edgren. “We started planning, got the courses approved and are slowly starting the program up. We have people enrolled to start the master’s program, but we’d love to get a cohort of SimOps people going through the program together so that when other simulation courses are available, we will have healthcare simulation operations well represented.”
She added that when a group of simulationists are brought together to learn, the environment fosters enhanced interprofessional learning, while helping educators and learners recognize different clinical simulation skills being brought to the table. This is because, during the SimOps master’s degree program, all learners engage in debriefing together. Then, educators are paired with healthcare simulation operations learners to work on projects that are then presented at the end of the program or course.
“We’re hoping to produce the best teachers and educators to go out there and provide the world with good teaching,” Kardong-Edgren said. “If you’re going to be the leader of a center, it makes perfect sense that you would actually be able to speak the education lingo to be able to talk with those educators that are using your center. You should know the SimOps side.”
In creating the framework for this program, Kardong-Edgren reviewed the SIMGHOST Capability Framework to develop the organization’s clinical simulation operations track and in health professions education. Every MGH SimOps track course matches up to the SIMGHOSTS SimOps Capability Framework , except for healthcare and theatrics and staging. MGH assumes that learners entering the SimOps master’s degree program have a healthcare background, and that they have some level of preexisting familiarity with theatrics and staging.
Rather, courses included in the MGH SimOps master’s degree program include “Foundations of Simulation-Based Education and Operations,” and “Educational Effectiveness” and a “Teaching Practicum.” Another course within the SimOps program is “Technology and Education,” during which clinical simulation operations learners are expected to learn about resources such as XR, VR, AR and more. They learn how these technologies can be applied within institutions to really help other learners. The masters in HPEd-Simulation operations also allows learners to practice skills in:
- Simulation technology
- Simulation-based education
- Leadership communication
- Organizational buy-in
- Program management
- Engineering simulations to meet goals
- Health and hospital systems
- Research focused on simulation-based education outcomes
- Measuring quality and patient safety
“People who are in the MGH nursing or health education MS program or in the doctoral program, who might not have had a formal course in clinical simulation, would also be taking the HE 720 “Foundations of Simulation-Based Education and Operations” course so that they have educators and simulation operations people in the same course. Within this course, for two weeks, we branch the course and operations people do a different set of learning objectives, than the education people. Then we bring it back together,” explained Kardong-Edgren.
To apply for this program, a bachelor’s degree is required, but no GRE is needed. Rolling admissions begin course work in January and September, and the program is designed to take two years to complete, with up to five years available if needed.
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He lives with his wife Dr. Abigail Baily in Las Vegas, Nevada with their newborn daughter and two crazy dachshunds.