Managing a program or simulation center can be very complex. There are many aspects that must be taken into account to achieve the objectives set. Let’s find out together what they are.
At the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, clinical simulation activities are linked to the Surgeon Degree Study Plan. For each academic grade, a specific subject has been developed where students go to the simulation center and carry out activities that complement their professional training. For the first and second year there are the subjects of Basic Clinical Integration I and II and for the third and fourth year Basic Clinical Integration I and II We currently have 8,200 students from first to fourth year, who attend the simulation center to carry out activities established in their academic program for the subject. Overall there is an average of 3000 hours/student weekly. The aforementioned context has allowed us to gain experience in the management of a simulation program.
The management of a simulation center involves a huge number of aspects, which might seem overwhelming. For this reason we want to share these 6 practical tips for coordinating and managing a simulation program or center.
Mission, Vision and strategic plan
To manage a program or simulation center, it is necessary it has its own mission and vision, which are linked to the mission and vision of the educational institution. In this way it will be possible to formulate a strategic plan with clear goals in the short, medium and long term. The mission and vision allow us to have a path to follow. We suggest that the mission, vision and strategic plan be known by all the people involved, as it will help everyone share the same mental model and act according to what is established.
2. Human Resources
The staff is the most valuable. You must have a process to recruit, select and hire the most competent personnel to perform the assigned functions. We recommend being attentive to their needs and supporting them in whatever they need. An essential part in this aspect is to analyze the training needs of the personnel to foster a culture of continuous growth, where work is more than just completing a shift. Ideally, they should enjoy carrying out their activities, so all staff should have a sense of belonging to the simulation program, in addition to having the responsibility of fulfilling the organization’s mission.
As the manager of a simulation center, you must realize that you cannot do everything alone, you need many people to achieve the goals and objectives set. Recognizing that we are all part of the organization, and that working together we can make activities more efficient, will be useful for proper management. We suggest that the individuals involved in the development of simulation activities have a clear understanding of their functions, the relationships they have with the rest of the staff, and are constantly involved in the organization’s decisions. Generating a sense of belonging is difficult but the benefits are invaluable.
Measure and use the information
Within simulation centers there are multiple processes and activities that can be constantly improved. We recommend you carry out continuous and conscious measurements, with clear objectives, instruments with evidence of validity, collect the data, analyze it and make decisions based on the information. On certain occasions, multiple measurements or evaluations are carried out and are archived.
Remember, the value of data is what you do with it and how it drives change.
Don’t forget to feed back!
Leadership and passion.
As a leader you should understand the importance of your work and guide the entire team. Nurturing and stimulating your team to meet objectives is not an easy task, and for this reason, you must act with passion to inspire everyone involved. Remember that a leader always seeks to improve for others, recognizes his or her mistakes and learns from them.
A simulation program must be kept up to date, constantly changing and innovating. There is always the fear that one could make a mistake when innovating, but we must lose that fear, get prepared to take risks with responsibility, always with the aim of improving. The evaluation of changes and the innovation process will reduce uncertainty.