SiMULCON India 2021: Driving Collaborative Practice Through Healthcare Simulation
Game-changing innovations are not created in a vacuum. They require vision, imagination, and the ability to see what does not yet exist. This only really happens when a truly multidimensional team comes together to share ideas and collaborate. The more diversity in terms of geography, gender, culture, and education – the more likely disruptive innovation can prevail (Banovetz, 2018). The members of the Society for Healthcare Simulation (SHS India) took this message to heart when organizing their third annual healthcare simulation conference. Coordinators of this year’s SiMULCON India optimized the conference theme of Driving Collaborative Practice Through Simulation, by assembling a multifarious group of healthcare simulationists.
They invited the presidents of the premiere healthcare simulation organizations to present at this conference. This benevolent gesture demonstrated several key attributes necessary for successful collaboration: a cooperative spirit, respect for diversity of thought, humility, and trust. An African proverb notes, “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” SHS is exhibiting the organization’s desire to go far in the quest to become a preeminent resource in India for healthcare educators, providers, innovators, administrators, and policymakers.
SiMULCON India 2021 was held virtually from December 3 to 5 and attracted more than 5,000 participants from 15 different countries. Chief among the 50+ presenters were the current presidents of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH), the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL), the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH), the Pan Asia Simulation Society in Healthcare (PASSH), and the Pediatric Simulation Training and Research Society (PediSTARS). The agenda included contributors from Korea, Japan, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, the U.K., and United States.
Diversity of ideas was apparent and the impact of cultural influences on the healthcare simulation process was palpable. For instance, many of the most widely used debriefing models were developed by Western cultures; their application in Eastern cultures can be challenging. Learners in Korea are not apt to speak freely in front of their instructor; they are not comfortable providing feedback to peers, especially if it is critical in nature. Content areas of the conference sessions spanned a wide range of specialty areas including obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery, urology, anesthesia, and dentistry. A full array of simulation modalities was represented as well, from standardized/simulation patients (SPs) to virtual reality (VR) and telesimulation.
The International Journal of Healthcare Simulation – Advances in Theory & Practice (IJoHS) is the official journal of the Society for Healthcare Simulation (SHS), India, and Pan Asia Simulation Society in Healthcare (PASSH). IJoHS made its debut in October of this year. IJoHS is a single-blind peer-reviewed open access journal; it provides a forum to share scholarly practice for advances in simulation across diverse applications in health and social care. The journal’s editor-in-chief, Debra Nestel, highlighted the journal at SiMULCON India 2021. In acknowledging her team, Nestel alluded to the proverb about traveling far together, in her reference to the migration of birds.
SHS India is a non-profit organization formed in the year 2019 as the first consortium in India for simulationists. The first SiMULCON India was hosted in December of 2019 by GSL Medical College and General Hospital at the historic city of Rajahmundry and saw over 1500 healthcare professionals and simulation enthusiasts in attendance. The second edition was held in December 2020 and due to the pandemic, was moved to a completely virtual event with over 5000 participants from 11 different countries. As a newcomer to the company of healthcare simulation conferences, SiMULCON India is making a name for itself as a champion of diversity and inclusion, committed to fostering collaboration in healthcare.
Interprofessional collaboration is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds work together with patients, families, caregivers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.” It is based on the concept that when providers consider each other’s perspectives, including that of the patient, they can deliver better care. Consideration of these influences is critical, as learner populations become more diverse (SHS India, n.d.).
The triple aim of improving patient experience and satisfaction, improving the health of the population, and reducing costs are not attainable without collaboration. Simulation provides educational opportunities where two or more professions learn with, about, and from each other to improve the collaboration and quality of care. Simulation allows for multiple professions to come together and, through simulation, learn collaboration and teamwork. When teams collaborate, they get the opportunity to learn new things from each other, which contributes to their overall personal and professional development.
Collaboration also challenges people to think, articulate, and learn more about their competencies, which can help them build self-awareness and a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. In today’s health care system, no profession or discipline can operate alone. Interdisciplinary collaboration is vital for creating a safe system of care. Quality client outcomes rely on professional teamwork, and the level of collaboration that takes place can affect safety outcomes directly. (Jeffries et al., 2008).
Healthcare professionals need to be competent in their individual roles but must also be able to think and act as a collectively competent team members. The teams operating in the modern healthcare environment are often facing challenges never before imagined. The complexity of the problems being addressed requires teams that are large, diverse, and composed of highly educated specialists. Those same characteristics can make it hard for teams to work together.
To put it another way, the qualities required for successful collaboration are the same qualities that undermine successful collaboration. Research shows that team members collaborate more easily and naturally if they perceive themselves as being alike. The differences that inhibit collaboration include not only nationality but also age, educational level, and even tenure. In the same way, the higher the educational level of the team members is, the more challenging collaboration appears to be for them. The greater the proportion of experts on a team, the more likely it is to disintegrate into nonproductive conflict or stalemate (Kaba et al., 2018).
Now more than ever, the concept that healthcare as a multidisciplinary and interprofessional system of care has come to the forefront. When providers consider each other’s perspectives, including that of the patient, they can deliver better care. Simulation affords healthcare professionals an arena for learning how to better work together. As a subspecialty of healthcare, simulation is gaining a reputation for being collaborative and inclusive. SiMULCON India 2021 exhibited that synergetic spirit throughout the conference.
- Banovetz, J. (2018, April 25). Diversity and collaboration are essential drivers for ... U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://www.usnews.com/news/stem-solutions/articles/2018-04-25/diversity-and-collaboration-are-essential-drivers-for-disruptive-innovation.
- Jeffries, P. R., McNelis, A. M., & Wheeler, C. A. (2008). Simulation as a vehicle for enhancing collaborative practice models.
- Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America, 20(4), 471–480. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2008.08.005
- Kaba, A., Dubé, M., Charania, I., & Donahue, M. (2018). Collaborative practice in action: Building interprofessional competencies through simulation based education and novel approaches to team training. Health Education and Care, 3(2), 3–9. https://doi.org/10.15761/hec.1000139
- Society for Healthcare Simulation (SHS India). (n.d.). Driving collaborative practice through simulation. Simulcon 2021. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://simulconindia.com/.
Jeanne Carey is the Director of Simulation at Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas, Texas. She holds advanced certification as a simulation educator and has 10 years of experience in all aspects of simulation, including the development and implementation of new simulation-based learning activities, training of simulation facilitators, and recruitment and management of standardized patients. Carey and the LHSON Simulation Team created the Two-Heads-Are-Better-Than-One (2HeadsR>1) strategy for role assignment in simulation. She is active in several simulation organizations and currently serves as an INACSL Nurse Planner.