April 18, 2023By Erin Carn Bennett

How to Become a Simulation Nurse Educator

Healthcare simulation nurse educator jobs are excellent opportunities to grow a career, however, are at times hard to find. Use of manikins is only a small part of being a simulation nurse educator. A career as a clinical simulation nurse educator can be a pivotal and life changing role for those passionate about healthcare simulation. This HealthySimulation.com article by Erin Carn-Bennett will explore how one can set oneself up for success in putting the best foot forward when seeking employment as a healthcare simulation educator.

One of the most tangible ways to segway into a healthcare simulation educator role is to get involved into any educational opportunity available, either as a participant or a faculty member. Immersion into clinical simulation as a participant allows one to experience a learner mindset. Another great opportunity for potential simulation educator jobs is through membership and networking in professional healthcare simulation organizations. One should let other clinical simulation educators know this is a field of work which causes personal interest and excitement.

A key career element for healthcare simulation educators is to be a lifelong learner in a wide variety of subjects. It is important to keep up to date on the newest technologies, strategies, journal articles, and the events at local simulation centers are essential. Potential and current simulation educators should set alerts for upcoming education sessions and courses. Another strategy is to sign up for simulation newsletters, make connections with other simulationists, and follow organizations and people on social media platforms. Ask a local clinical simulation program for the contact information of the clinical simulation champion role and take this opportunity to network and state one’s interest.

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If there is a struggle to gain traction in healthcare simulation roles of interest seek feedback from the clinical simulation team. Part of being an effective educator is the ability to receive constructive feedback and take this into consideration.There is no shame in stating future goals outright. Do not get disheartened if success is not achieved at first, keep trying.

Consider enrollment, if not currently registered, in graduate or postgraduate healthcare simulation courses and programs. HealthySimulation.com has a page with Healthcare Simulation Degree Programs. A key part of working in Clinical Simulation is understanding how people learn and human behaviors that relate to human factors. It is important to seek courses that focus around education theories, science, emotional intelligence, adult learning theory and empathy. Completion of professional and/or academic simulation programs demonstrates personal commitment to the field of simulation and will be a useful investment in translating these skills into delivering effective simulation education. One must make sure to document all professional development on the curricula vitae (CV).

Debriefing is often referred to as the key aspect in simulation to help participants learn. Knowledge of psychology and humanistic sciences play a major role in being an effective debriefer for clinical simulation. One way to learn the art and skill of debriefing is to observe and watch debriefers in action. Collaboration with debriefers in action allows one to learn from others to explore observed strategies to understand the rationale for a variety of aspects in the debrief circle.

A safe debriefing circle is built on trust, transparency, non-judgment, genuine curiosity and psychological safety. If you are in a position to observe or be part of debriefs take note of how the debriefers make the space psychologically safe. Being able to teach as well as debrief with good judgment and ensure a learning environment of psychological safety are critical skills for anyone working in the Clinical Simulation education field. Know what psychological safety is and how this is conducive to an effective learning environment. There are so many incredible resources available for psychological safety and this topic translates directly into key skills needed for a healthcare simulation nurse educator.

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Cost or access should not be a barrier for professional development. Other economical resources include books and podcasts that can be translated into use for clinical simulation nurse educators. Some often read authors by those involved in simulation include: Brene Brown, Adam Grant, Amy Edmondson & Simon Sinek. Taking a deep dive into learning on these topics will pay dividends in many areas of your life, not just your potential career!

Undertake any debrief training that you can available at local or adjacent institutions. Make a plan of goals to achieve in attending education in these fields. Be sure to let current employers know about new skill sets learnt in debrief training courses.

Healthcare simulation is a technology based career. One strategy to prepare for a simulation educator role is to increase knowledge on virtual platforms: VR,AR,XR technologies. As the field of healthcare simulation expands, emerging technologies of interest in Healthcare Simulation. Clinical simulation should be a focus for continued knowledge growth for the clinical simulation educator. A strong passion for clinical healthcare simulation but lack of confidence in technology based skills can hinder professional development as a simulation educator. It is important to remember, technology is mostly streamlined and intuitive to use; as a result the skills are easy to obtain without a tremendous amount of effort.

Reading the HealthySimulation.com newsletter and taking part in our virtual events is an easy and often free way to increase knowledge in all things clinical simulation based. As with most things, confidence in one’s abilities with technology increases with practice, effort and time. Network with someone confident in simulation technology, especially a healthcare simulation technician, can help to increase confidence and skills to help with a future career in clinical simulation.

Be intentional with any education allowance put towards clinical simulation conferences attendance either locally or abroad if this is a career of interest. Join local and international societies. HealthySimulation has a list of Healthcare Simulation Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs). Join the healthcare simulation social media community and follow the latest clinical simulation trends.

Twitter and LinkedIn have an incredible healthcare simulation community to follow and stay informed of activities by world leaders in simulation. FaceBook has an incredible public group called “Simulation Technician Network” which is an incredible resource for anyone interested in clinical simulation.

Lastly, one must remember that the healthcare simulation community is incredibly generous in sharing anything to help simulation educators with clinical simulation. Do not hesitate to ask for help and guidance from other clinical simulation educators when trying to enter into a career in clinical simulation. Working as a clinical simulation nurse educator is worth the effort!

Learn More About Becoming a Simulation Nurse Educator Through INACSL

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