April 18, 2024By Teresa Gore

Learn About SENAT: The Healthcare Simulation Educator Needs Assessment Tool

The Simulation Educator Needs Assessment Tool (SENAT) was developed by Britt, Xing, and Leighton (2023) based on a needs assessment and gap analysis for healthcare simulation professional development, the need to provide data regarding the simulation professional needs and desire for improvement, and to assist the creation of a professional development roadmap for clinical simulation programs and/or individual simulation educators. The SENAT is part of the Evaluating Healthcare Simulation tools housed on HealthySimulation.com supported by Leighton et al. The Healthcare Simulation Standard of Best Practice: Professional Development was used as a foundation for this instrument. The SENAT was designed to assess the needs of educators to inform continuing education and orientation requirements. This HealthySimulation.com article will delve into the SENAT tool.

Download the Simulation Educator Needs Assessment Tool on the Evaluating Healthcare Simulation Tools page!

“In regard to the tool, I humbly just hope it is a tool that the sim world finds helpful. It was written to help establish a professional development roadmap for those who facilitate simulation, promote self-reflection, and provide data that can lead to psychologically safe mentoring conversations. Through the tool, we can determine where facilitators are in their sim knowledge and skills and where they want to go,” explained Teresa Britt MSN, RN, CHSE-A, Director of Education, The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation.

Sponsored Content:

Permission to Use FREELY: General use is already permitted by posting the statement: I understand that I have been granted permission by the creators of the requested evaluation instrument to use it for academic, clinical and/or research purposes. I agree that I will use the evaluation instrument only for its intended use and will not alter it in any way. I will share findings as well as publication references with the instrument creator(s). I am allowed to place the evaluation instrument into electronic format for data collection. If official ‘Permission to Use’ letter is required, please contact the primary author. Include the purpose of the official request (research, grant), the intended use of the tool and with what population.

Why the Simulation Educator Needs Assessment Tool was Developed

Learn more about INACSL’s Healthcare Simulation Standard on Professional Development, which states in CRITERION 1 to “perform an educational needs assessment that includes a gap analysis to provide the foundational evidence for a well-designed professional development plan.” The document continues that this “Initial and ongoing professional development supports the simulationist across their career. As the practice of simulation-based education grows, professional development allows the simulationist to stay current with new knowledge, provide high-quality simulation experiences, and meet the educational needs of the learners” (INACSL Standards Committee et al., 2021). The SENAT was developed to address:

  • Gap noted in the literature for healthcare simulation professional development needs assessment
  • Need to provide data regarding an individual’s needs and desires for improvement
  • Serve as catalyst for simulation professional development conversations
  • Assist in the creation of a professional development roadmap for simulation programs and/or individual simulation educators

How the SENAT was Developed

Sponsored Content:

This tool was initially developed by Mrs. Teresa Britt and Dr. Kuan Xing at the Center for Healthcare Improvement & Patient Simulation (CHIPS) at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. The audience for this self-reporting survey is the Simulationist, broadly defined as an individual who is involved in the design, implementation, and/or delivery of simulation activities ( for example, educators, technologists, operations specialists, and technicians). Because of the wide variation that still exists in simulation job descriptions, this tool may be useful for those in academic or clinical simulation environments. In many organizations, there is a significant crossover between educators and operations personnel — or one person occupies both roles!

What is a Needs Assessment? A needs assessment is a crucial stage in the educational process that leads to changes in practice and should be part of the continuing professional development process, which should be the starting point in designing any formalized professional improvement curriculum.

View the LEARN CE/CME Platform Webinar Clinical Simulation Professional Development: A Scaffold Approach

Reliability and Validity of the SENAT

As a review, reliability and validity will be defined. Reliability is the consistency of measurement and the extent to which any assessment tool will produce conformity of results. Validity determines how accurately a method measures something. If a method measures something as claimed, and the results closely correspond to real-world values, then this method can be considered valid. Validation refers to the process of collecting validity evidence to evaluate the appropriateness of the interpretations, uses, and decisions based on assessment results. The following methods were used for the SENAT:

  • Literature Review: Survey Draft based on literature and Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) Blueprint
  • Informal Peer Review: Edits from a measurement/assessment perspective

‌Sample: 239 responded; 147 completed (62%)

  • Two Subscales demonstrate good to excellent scale reliability
    • Needs: Cronbach’s alpha = .90
    • Simulation Modalities: Cronbach’s alpha = .81


Overall, Evaluating Healthcare Simulation defines a needs assessment as a crucial stage in the educational process that leads to changes in practice and should be part of the continuing professional development process. The website shares that this type of assessment should be the starting point in designing any formalized professional improvement curriculum. To effectively utilize a SENAT, healthcare simulation educators must respond to each item with an honest reflection of their knowledge and/or skills, as the results can be used to identify and prioritize their professional development needs.

Learn More About Evaluating Healthcare Simulation!


  • The Simulation Educator Needs Assessment Tool (SENAT): the development and validation of a tool for simulation onboarding and professional development Teresa Britt, Kuan Xing, Kim Leighton DOI:10.54531/gosh2567, Pages: 1-8
  • If you need an official ‘Permission to Use’ letter, or have questions about this tool, please contact Dr. Kim Leighton.

Sponsored Content: