August 31, 2023By Erin Carn Bennett

How to Get the Most Out of Your First Healthcare Simulation Conference

The healthcare simulation international community is an incredible powerhouse of knowledge, experience, and skill. There is an incredible amount of absolutely brilliant healthcare simulation conferences available for attendance across the world year-round, many of which can be found on the healthcare simulation events and media partners pages. The Covid19 pandemic halted in-person attendance but offered virtual conference attendance to clinical simulation conferences for a few years. The return of in-person attendance at healthcare simulation conferences regularly is an experience for new simulationists to engage in the educational culture of the healthcare simulation global community. This article by Erin Carn-Bennett MSN, RN, will explore how to plan and make the most of attendance at the first medical simulation conference.

Find the Right Event for Your Region, Speciality, or Needs

First, be sure to explore’s non-profit organizations media partners page to learn more about the world’s leading clinical simulation organizations and their respective annual conferences. Those interested in operating simulated technologies and operations should consider attending SimGHOSTS, while those interested in nursing simulation should consider INACSL, and pediatrics the IPSS annual event, the SIM Expo from Simulation Canada, or those in New Zealand should consider the next NZASH event, etc. Check out some of’s webinars co-hosted by NPO board leadership such as the webinars: The International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS): Events, Resources and Community, Strategies To Improve Medical Simulation Effectiveness From SimGHOSTS, EU Simulation Resources From the SESAM Organization, and Gain Recognition with INACSL’s Healthcare Simulation Standards Endorsement Program. Each event and organization offers unique opportunities to meet, connect and learn from colleagues accelerating the adoptions and advancement of clinical simulation, and we highly recommend all of them!

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Registration, Travel, and Costs

For some simulationists, employee financial assistance to attend a healthcare simulation conference within their roles is part of their employment contract. However, others involved in clinical simulation communities may need to present a podium or poster presentation for the organization to pay for their attendance at a clinical simulation conference. Being a presenter benefits the simulationists and the organization by representing the work completed within the organization.

If applying for a presentation or poster to be presented at a healthcare simulation conference, ensure that there is adequate support as a first-time presenter. Consider other attendees that may assist in the presentation or have their names on the poster or presentation. To have a more experienced clinical simulation faculty member to support the first-time presenter is incredibly helpful to make the most of the experience.

Attempt to make a travel schedule that will allow for an arrival well-rested and adjusted to time zones at the conference location. Also, check employment contracts of whether paid travel days can be included to minimize jet lag and ensure the experience of the healthcare simulation conference is maximized.

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Conference Schedule and Apps

Become aware of the schedule for the healthcare simulation conference as early as possible. Conferences release their schedules and support technologies, such as apps, at different times of the year. As soon as the conference app is released, join the community and network via the app.

Some conferences, such as the SimGHOSTS conference, release the app weeks prior to the conference so that an array of network activities can occur. This process was discussed at length in the SimCafe podcast episode with SimGHOSTS leadership Jacqueline Mcbride and Ferooz Sekandapoor recently here with Deb Tauber in Season 3 Episode 40.

Collaboration is the Best Opportunity

For people involved in a clinical simulation conference organization committee or those thinking about this level of involvement, the above SimCafe episode provides some great insights into the pre-conference SimGHOSTS strategy to promote conference interactions. The SimCafe episode explores the many types of personalities and confidence levels that attend clinical simulation conferences. The idea behind the early release of the conference app for SimGHOSTS is that conference participants have opportunities to get together on the app, zoom, and webinars pre-conference so that there is an increased confidence and readiness to learn by the time conference commences.

A very active participation role may be required as a conference attendee at some healthcare simulation conferences. This may include an appearance on stage or participation in clinical simulation experiences to simulate various educational experiences. The clinical simulation international networking is incredible to make the most of the experience!

Conference Schedules

Frequently check the conference schedule in the build-up to the first day. At times the schedule may change. Ensure to follow organizations and people relevant to the clinical healthcare simulation conference on social media platforms. This will keep the attendee updated with the most current information.

Meet new people, and don’t be shy. Talk with people that have presented about topics that are of personal interest. Offer to be a site for future research opportunities or ask questions about concepts applicable to use at home organizations. Take business cards to share with any contacts that are met at the conference or ask for their social media handle to follow and stay in touch post-conference.

Healthcare simulation conferences will have some social events that attendees are available to attend. These events are an excellent opportunity to meet new people, network, and talk to experts in healthcare simulation. This allows participants to make new friends from all over the globe to reach out for information or support once at home and can provide mentorship for clinical simulation development.

Exhibit Halls: The Best Way to See Simulators Up Close

Vendors that sell clinical simulation equipment, resources, and manikins will be present at the conference. Often these vendors will be sponsors of the healthcare simulation conference and have provided funds so that the conference can proceed. Make sure to visit and support the vendors in the exhibit hall or area. Interact with the vendor to learn more about clinical simulation products. This interaction is an experiential learning opportunity to discover and practice with the latest simulation equipment. As a conference participant, the vendor area is an excellent opportunity to become an active participant in the clinical simulation conference and the healthcare simulation community.

A great way to support the healthcare simulation conference organizers is to get involved with vendors and hear about what equipment, resources, and manikins are on display and available to purchase. Not to mention the vendors and contact information can be useful to take home to organizations for future equipment acquisitions. Vendors are experts in their products, and this can be a fantastic opportunity to network and try out cutting-edge technologies in healthcare simulation. Check out some of the previous IMSH Vendor Demos videos (Part 1 and Part 2) from

Take the Knowledge Back to Your Institution

Take a lot of notes of any sessions attended and take photos of slides from presentations unless not permitted. At times there will be other resources, such as Google Drives, offered up to participants, which can also be incredibly valuable to access.

After attending the healthcare simulation conference, there can be value in having a post-conference meeting with team members who did or didn’t attend the healthcare simulation conference. Written reports may be valuable to demonstrate the value gained and improvements to be incorporated to improve organizational outcomes. This is a great opportunity to share resources and ideas gained from attending workshops, presentations, and poster rounds to show a return on investment. Having notes taken from this meeting can be helpful to look back on later or the start of brainstorming ideas from the conference into use at the home organization.

This article has discussed how to get the most out of attendance at a first healthcare simulation conference. Attendance at a clinical simulation conference is a wonderful experience to expand professional networks and knowledge bases. This article will set first-time clinical simulation conference attendees up for success so they can utilize the experience to the maximum. There are annual conferences for professional simulation organizations with the dates and locations posted on the organization’s website.

Want to augment your annual conference experiences with 24/7 access to the latest healthcare simulation conference? Beyond the membership benefits of our media partners, please also consider a subscription to the LEARN CE/CME webinar platform!

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