April 23, 2024By Erin Carn Bennett

How to Stay Motivated as a Clinical Simulation Educator

As a healthcare simulation educator, there can be difficulty at times maintaining a continuously high level of motivation. As a clinical simulation educator, there can be a number of complex factors that can impact the educator’s internal and external motivators. This article by Erin Carn-Bennett, MSN, RN, will explore how to reconsider motivation as a clinical simulation educator at times when motivation may have reduced.Motivation Can Be Personal or More Complex Than Just the Individual

Motivation is a person’s desire to do a task in a certain manner or the willingness to act. One reason motivation can wane in a clinical simulation environment is when there is evidence of a reduction in appeal from learners. As a clinical simulation educator there is merit to know the learner group and what their needs are. Disengaged clinical simulation participants can also impact the clinical simulation educators’ motivation. There is value in the evaluation of where the decrease in motivation has come from: the educator as an individual, the team, the clinical simulation participant, or other environmental factors.

As a clinical simulation educator, knowing the personal motivators and the why behind the role in education is valuable. When there is an awareness of purpose and motivation behind a role in clinical simulation-based education, this can drive motivation in the role in the right direction. With clear goals, education outcomes, and purpose, this can be useful to circle back to when motivation drops as an educator. A shared team vision or statement can also assist with this. As a clinical simulation educator, take note of topics of interest and seek to be a leader in these areas to enhance motivation.


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As a clinical simulation educator, consider the internal motivators, and if a lack of motivation is present, then reconsider internal motivators. Know and continue to learn about how adults learn through the various adult educational theories. This will relate not only to the clinical simulation participant but also to the clinical simulation educator. When motivation wanes, consider why this has happened and what internal motivators must be re-engaged as an educator.

Consider if the topics provided by an educator engage the educator and the learner. Intrinsic motivators to consider as an educator include autonomy, belonging, competence, purpose, fun, and curiosity. If one or a few of these motivators are out of alignment as a clinical simulation educator, then as a team, consider how to fix these to improve the educator’s motivation and the clinical simulation course curriculum provided overall.


View the LEARN CE/CME Platform Webinar How Can Clinical Simulation Promote Growth Mindset Over Fixed Mindset? to learn more!


Consider How to Make Clinical Simulation More Fun With Gamification


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Clinical simulation experiences should be fun and engaging for all involved. Consider ways in which the involvement of clinical simulation modalities such as gamification can impact motivation. Gamification can be a great way for all involved to have increased motivation. As a clinical simulation educator, learning how to deliver different modalities of clinical simulation, such as VR, AR, and other technologies, can be new skills to learn and add to existing skill sets. Competition against self, others, and technology is part of gamification in the clinical simulation environment.

Other technologies, such as the Laerdal RQI cart, can also impact motivation as a clinical simulation educator. The Laerdal RQI cart takes participants through individual CPR skills, and directive and corrective feedback is given to the clinical simulation learner by the computer. Observation of the desire to increase the scores of the clinical simulation participant impacts the motivation of all involved. A new educational modality that motivates learners and sees direct results in improved scores as measured by a computer can increase motivation. Motivation can be infectious and enjoyable while in the clinical simulation experience.

Gamified clinical simulation modalities such as escape room experiences can be fun to design and deliver and can raise the motivation of the clinical simulation educator. Escape room healthcare simulation can be directly related to healthcare or completely removed from a healthcare topic but focused on teamwork and problem-solving skills. Creating new educational platforms that can include puzzles, cryptic clues, and technology can be incredibly fun for the clinical simulation participant and the educator, which increases motivation. Stay up to date as a clinical simulation educator in regard to new technologies and trends, which may boost motivation for all involved in clinical simulation-based education.

Focus on Motivation of The Clinical Simulation Educator Should Be Prioritized



As a clinical simulation educator, one can significantly emphasize motivation and improvement as an individual. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods. Some examples include an annual plan of scheduled clinical simulation scenarios and projected new courses to be developed, education and courses for educators to advance themselves, and regular feedback on performance by management or more senior staff members.

Annual plans assist educators to remain motivated to know what will occur in the future. Time and dedication to the advancement of skills for clinical simulation educators also help keep educators feeling valued and up to date with current clinical simulation trends and network with others. Regular reflective practices such as 1:1 time with a manager can assist the educator to have clear goals and the opportunity to reflect on any successes or points learned from challenges.

As an educator, there is great importance placed on personal well-being and care for oneself and other team members to reduce any burnout suffered by individuals or as a collective. Take regular vacation leave as much as possible and consider daily rituals to enhance reflective practices and wellness. A role as a clinical simulation educator can be incredibly meaningful, but at times, very hard to deal with clinical simulation participants and an array of multiple emotions every day. The pressure to get clinical simulation to a high standard can take a toll on employees without proper downtime, self and team care.

Motivation can greatly impact clinical simulation educators’ throughputs and enjoyment in the clinical simulation role. Many factors can impact both internal and external motivators within a clinical simulation educator as an individual or a team. This article has explored some of these concepts and ways to enhance motivation as a clinical simulation educator. Attention to motivation levels is worthwhile to ensure the best educational outcomes for all who access clinical simulation-based education.

Learn More About Cognitive Learning in Medical Simulation!


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